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IRVING'S CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

PEOPLE'S EDITION. 



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B i v\' V^ ■ . 




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CRAYOM MIoCELLAny 



BY WASHINGTON IRVING. 




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THE 



CRAYON MISCELLANY 



BY 

WASHINGTON IRVING. 



THB AUTHOR'S REVISED EDITION. 



COMPLETE IN 0101 VOLUME. 



PHILADELPHIA: 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO. 
1870. 



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Entered aocording to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by 

Geobob p. Potmam, 

in the Clerk ^s Office of the District Court for the Soothom Diitrict 

of New TorlL. 



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CONTENTS. 



A TOUR ON THE PRAIEIES. 

piaa 
CHAPTER L 

The Pawnee Himtmg-Gromids. — Trayelling Compan- 
ions. — A Commissioner. — A Yirtaoso. — A Seeker of 
Adventures. — A Gil Bias of the Frontier. — A Tomig 
lian*s Anticipations of Pleasure 11 

CHAPTER n. 

Anticipations disanpoititftd.~New Plans.— Preparations 
to join an Esrolorinff Party. — Departure from Fort 
GihBon. — Fording of the Verdigris. — An Indian Cav- 
alier • ., • . .17 

CHAPTER ra. 

An Indian Agency. — Riflemen. — Osages, CreekSjTrap- 
pers. Dogs, Horses, Half-breeds. — Beatte, the Hnnt»- 
man 22 

CHAPTER IV. 
The Departure 27 

CHAPTER V. 

Frontier Scenes. — A Lycuigus of the Border. — L^ch*8 
Law. — The Danger of finding a Horse. — The xonng 
Osage 80 

CHAPTER VI. 

Trail of the Osage Hunters. — Departure of the Count 
and his Party. — A Deserted War-Camp. — A Vagrant 
Dog. — The Encampment 96 

CHAPTER Vn. 

ISfewB of the Rangers. — The Count and his Indian 
Sqpiire. — Halt in the Woods. — Woodland Scene. — 
Osage Village.— Osage Visitors at pur Evening Camp 40 



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iv CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER Vm. '^ 

The Honej Camp . . 48 

CHAPTER IX. 
A Bee-Hunt • 62 

CHAPTER X. 

Amiisements in the Camp. — Consultationfl. — Hunters' 
Fare and Feasting. — Evening Scenes. — Camp Mel- 
ody. — The Fate of an Amateur Owl . • . 67 

CHAPTER XL 

Breaking up of the Encampment. — Picturesque March. 
Game. — Camp-Scenes. — Triumph of a Young Hunt- 
er. — 111 Success of Old Hunters. — Foul Murder of 
a Polecat * . . 64 

CHAPTER Xn. 
The Crossing of the Arkansas 7S 

CHAPTER Xni. 

Thb Camp of thb Glen.— Camp-Gossip.— Pawnees 
and their Habits. — A Hunter's Adventtre. — Horses 
found, and Men lost 76 

CHAPTER XrV. 
Deer-Shooting. — Life on the Pnuries. — BeautiftU En- 
campment — Hunter's Ludc — Anecdotes of the Dela^ 
wares and their Superstitions 86 

CHAPTER XV. 
The Search for the Elk. — Pawnee Stories ... 94 

CHAPTER XVL 
A Siek-Camp.— The March.— The Disabled Horse.— 
Old Ryan and the Stragglers. — Symptoms of Change 
ofWMther, and Change of Humors . • .103 

CHAPTER XVH. 
Thunder-Storm on the Prairies. — The Storm-Encamp- 
ment— mgfat Scene.- Indian Storiea.— A Fright- 
ened Hone 100 

CHAPTER XVnL 
A Qiand Prairie.— Cliff Castle. — Bni&lo Tracks.— 
DewhuitadbyWolvea.— Gross Timber . .115 



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CONTENTB. V 

PAOl 

CHAPTER XIX. 

flimten' Anticipations. — The Bagged Fozd. — A WUd 
Hone . r ........ 120 

CHAPTER XX. 

Thx Camp of thk Wild Hobse.— Hunters* Stories. . 
Habits of the WUd Horse. — The Half-breed and his 
Prize. — A Horse-Chase. — A Wild Spirit tamed . 126 

CHAPTER XXI. 

The Fording of the Red Fork. — The Dreary Forests of 
the "Cross Timber.»'— Buffalo! . . . . .184 

CHAPTER XXn. 
The Alarm Camp 189 

CHAPTER XXni. 

Beaver Dam. — Buffalo and Horse Tracks.— A Pawnee 
Trail.— WUd Horses. — The Toong Hunter and the 
Bear.— Change of Route 148 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

Seardty of Bread. — Rencontre with Buffidoes. — Wild 
Turkeys.— EbU of a Buffido Bull • . . . 155 

CHAPTER XXV. 
Ringfaig the WUd Horse 160 

CHAPTER XXVL 

Fording of the North Fork. — Dreary Scenerr of the 
Cross Timber. — Scamper of Horses in the Kight — 
Osi^e War-Party. — fSOTects of a Peace Harangue. — 
BuffiOo.- WUd Horse 166 

CHAPTER XXVH. 

Foul-Weather Encampment — Anecdotes of Bear-Hunt- 
ing. — Indian Notions about Omens. — Scruples Re- 
jecting the Dead 171 

CHAPTER XXVra. 
A86cietExpedition.—Deer-Bleating.— Magic Balla .182 

CHAPTER XXIX. 
The Grand Prairie.— A Buffido Hunt . . • .188 



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Vi CONTENTS. 

PAa 

CHAPTER XXX. 

4 Comrade lost —A Search for the Camp.— The Com- 
missioner, the Wild Horse, and the Buffalo. —A Wolf 
Serenade . . . . . . . . .199 

CHAPTER XXXI. 
A Hnnt for a Lost Comrade 2J4 

CHAPTER XXXn. 
A Republic of Prairie-Dogs .210 

CHAPTER XXXm. 

A Council in the Camp. —Reasons for Facing Home- 
wards.— Horses lost. — Departure with a Detachment 
on the Homeward Route. — Swamp.— Wild Horse. — 
Camp -Scene bj Night — The Owl, Harbinger of 
Dawn 215 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 

Old Creek Encampment. — Scarcity of Provisions. — Bad 
Weather. — Weaiy Marching. — A Hunter's Bridge . 225 

CHAPTER XXXV. 

A Look-out for Land.— Hard Travelling and Hungiy 
Halting. — A Frontier Farm-house. — Arrival at the 
Garrison • .232 



ABBOTSFORD. 
Abbotsfobd • • • 248 

NEWSTEAD ABBEY. 

HiSTOBiGAL NoncB 323 

Arrival at thb Abbbt 834 

The Abbey Garden 342 

PiiOUGH Monday 350 

Old Sebyazits 355 

Superstitions of the Abbey • . • • . .361 

Annesley Hall 371 

The Lake 395 

Robin Hood and Sherwood Fobbst . . . .309 

The Rook Ce^l 410 

The Little Wbttb Lady 416 



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INTRODUCTION. 




jjAVING, since my return to the United 
States, made a wide and varied tour, for 
the gratification of my curiosity, it has been 
supposed that I did it for the purpose of 
writing a book ; and it has more than once been inti- 
mated in the papers, that such a work was actually 
in the press, containing scenes and sketches of the 
Far West. 

These announcements, gratuitously made for me, 
before I had put pen to paper, or even contemplated 
anything of tiie kind, have embarrassed me exceed- 
ingly. I have been like a poor actor, who finds him- 
self announced for a part he had no thought of play- 
ing, and his appearance expected on the stage before 
he has committed a line to memory. 

I have always had a repugnance, amounting almost 
to disability, to write in the face of expectation ; and, 
in the present instance, I was expected to write 
about a region finiitfiil of wonders and adventures, 
and which had already been made the theme of 
spirit-stirring narratives firom able pens, yet about 
which I had nothing wonderful or adventurous to 
offer. 

SiDDe such, however, seems to be the desire of the 
jpoblic, and that they take sufficient interest in my 



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Viii INTRODUCTION. 

wanderings to deem them worthy of recital, I have 
hastened, as promptly as possible, to meet in some 
degree the expectation which others have excited. 
For this purpose, I have, as it were, plucked a few 
leaves out of my memorandum book, containing a 
month's foray beyond the outposts of human habita- 
tion, into the wilderness of the Far West It forms, 
indeed, but a small portion of an extensive tour ; but 
it is an episode, complete as far as it goes. As such 
I offer it to the public with great diffidence. It is 
a simple narrative of every-day occurrences, such as 
happen to every one who travels the prairies. I have 
no wonders to describe, nor any moving accidents by 
flood or field to narrate ; and as to those who look for 
a marvellous or adventurous story at my hands, I can 
only reply in the words of the weary knife-grinder : 
^* Stoiyl God bless you, I have none to tell, sir.'' 




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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 



CHAPTER L 



Tn FAWNBi HinfTnrcHnfcouirx>8.— TXATSLLnrs oompahioits. —-a com- 

imSIOinBK.— A TIRTUOSO.— A SXSKXB OF ASTXHTUKI8.— A OIL BLA8 
or THI reOKTDEB. — A TOUHO MAX*! AUTIOZPATIOHS OF PUASUBI. 



In the often vaonted regions of the Far 
West, several hundred miles beyond the 
Mississippi, extends a vast tract of un- 
inhabited country, where there is neither to be 
seen the log house of the white man, nor the 
wigwam of the Indian. It consists of great 
grassy plains, interspersed with forests and groves, 
and dumps of trees, and watered by the Arkan- 
sas, the grand Canadian, the Red River, and 
their tributary streams. Over these fertile and 
verdant wastes still roam the elk, the buffalo, and 
the wild horse, in all their native freedom. 
These, in fact, are the hunting-grounds of the va- 
rious tribes of the Far West Hither repair the 
Osage, the Creek, the Delaware and other tribes 
that have linked themselves with civilization, and 
live within the vicinity of the white settlements. 
Here resort also the Pawnees, the Comanches, 



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12 CRAYON MIBCELLANT. 

and other fierce and as yet independent tribes, 
the nomads of the prairies, or the inhabitants of 
the skirts of the Rocky Mountains. The regions 
I have mentioned form a debatable ground of 
these warring and vindictive tribes ; none of them 
presume to erect a permanent habitation within 
its borders. Their hunters and ^ Braves " repair 
thither in numerous bodies during the season pf 
game, thro^ up their transient hunting-camps, 
consisting of light bowers covered with bark and 
skins, commit sad havoc among the innumerable 
herds that graze the prairies, and having loaded 
themselves with venison and buffalo meat, warily 
retire from the dangerous neighborhood. These 
expeditions partake, always, of a warlike charac- 
ter ; the hunters are all armed for action, offen- 
sive and defensive, and are bound to incessant vig- 
ilance. Should they, in their exc^ursions, meet the 
hunters of an adverse tribe, savage conflicts take 
place. Their encampments, too, are always sub- 
ject to be surprised by wandering war parties, 
and their hunters, when scattered in pursuit of 
game, to be captured or massacred by lurking 
foes. Mouldering skulls and skeletons, bleaching 
in some dark ravine or near the traces of a hunt- 
ing-camp, occasionally mark the scene of a fore- 
gone act of blood, and let the wanderer know the 
dangerous nature of the region he is traversing. 
It is the purport of the following pages to nar- 
rate a month's excursion to these noted hunting 
grounds, through a tract of country which had 
not as yet been explored by white men. 

It was early in October, 1832, that I arrived 

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A TOUR ON TEE PRAIRIES 18 

at Fort Gibson, a frontier post of the Far West, 
sitaated on the Neosho, or Grand Kiver, near its 
confluence with the Arkansas. I had been trav- 
elling for a month past, with a small party from 
St. Louis, up the banks of the Missouri, and along 
the frontier line of agencies and missions, that 
extends from the Missouri to the Arkansas. Our 
party was headed by one of the Commissioners 
appointed by the government of the United States 
to superintend the settlement of the Indian tribes 
migrating from the east to the west of the Missis- 
sippi. In the discharge of his duties, he was 
thus visiting the various outposts of civilization. 

And here let me bear testimony to the merits 
of this worthy leader of our little band. He was 
a native of one of the towns of Connecticut, a 
man in whom a course of legal practice and po- 
litical life had not been able to vitiate, an innate 
simplicity and benevolence of heart. The greater 
part of his days had been passed in the bosom of 
his family and the society of deacons, elders, and 
selectmen, on the peaceful banks of the Connec- 
ticut ; when suddenly he had been called to mount 
his steed, shoulder his rifle, and mingle among 
stark hunters, backwoodsmen, and naked savages, 
on the trackless wilds of the Far West. 

Another of my fellow-travellers was Mr. L., 
an Englishman by birth, but descended from a 
foreign stock ; and who had all the buoyancy and 
accommodating spirit of a native of the Conti- 
nent. Having rambled over many countries, he 
had become, to a certain degree, a citizen of the 
world, easily adapting himself to any change. 



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14 CBA YON MISCELLANY. 

V 

He was a man of a thousand occupations ; a bot- 
anist, a geologist, a hunter of beetles and butter- 
flies, a musical amateur, a sketcher of no mean 
pretensions, in short, a complete virtuoso ; added 
to which, he was a very indefatigable, if not al- 
ways a very successful, sportsman. Never had a 
maa more irons in the fire, and, consequently, 
never was man more busy nor more cheerful. 

My third fellow-traveller was one who had ac- 
companied the former from Europe, and travelled 
with him as his Telemachus ; being apt, like his 
prototype, to give occasional perplexity and dis- 
quiet to his Mentor. He was a young Swiss 
Count, scarce twenty-one years of age, ftill of 
talent and spirit, but galliard in the extreme, and 
prone to every kind'bf wild adventure. 

Having made this mention of my comrades, I 
must not pass over unnoticed a personage of in- 
ferior rank, but of all-pervading and prevalent 
importance, — the squire, the groom, the cook, the 
tent-man, in a word, the factotum, and, I may 
add, the universal meddler and marplot of our 
party. This wa&a little, swarthy, meagre, French 
Creole, named Antoine, but familiarly dubbed 
Tonish, — a kind of Gil Bias of the frontiers, who 
had passed a scrambling life, sometimes among 
white men, sometimes among Indians ; sometimes 
in the employ of traders, missionaries, and Indian 
agents ; sometimes mingling with the Osage hunt- 
ers. We picked him up at St. Louis, near which 
he has a small farm, an Indian wife, and a brood 
of half-blood children. According to his own ac- 
count, however, he had a wife in every tribe ; in 



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A TOVR ON THE PRAIRIES, 15 

&et, if all this little vagabond said of himself were 
to be believed, he was without morals, without 
caste, without creed, without country, and even 
without language; for he spoke a jargon of 
mingled French, English, and Osage. He was, 
withal, a notorious braggart, and a liar of the first 
water. It was amusing to hear him vapor and 
gasconade about his terrible exploits and hair- 
breadth escapes in war and hunting. In the 
midst of his volubility he was prone to be seized 
by a spasmodic gasping, as if the springs of his 
jaws were suddenly unhinged ; but I am apt to 
think it was caused by some falsehood that stuck 
in his throat, for I generally remarked that im- 
mediately afterwards there bolted forth a lie of 
the first magnitude. 

Our route had been a pleasant one, quartering 
ourselves, occasionally, at the widely separated 
establishments of the Indian missionaries, but in 
general camping out in the fine groves that bor- 
der the streams, and sleeping under cover of a 
tent. During the latter part of our tour we had 
pressed forward in hopes of arriving in time at 
Fort Gibson, to accompany the Osage hunters on 
their autumnal visit to the bufialo prairies. In- 
deed the imagination of the young Count had 
become completely excited on the subject The 
grand scenery and wild habits of the prairies had 
set his spirits madding, and the stories that little 
Tonish told him of Indian braves and Indian 
beauties, of hunting buffaloes and catching wild 
horses, had set him all agog for a dash into sav- 
age life. He was a bold and hard rider, and 
2 

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16 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

longed to be scouring the hunting-groands. It 
was amusing to hear his youthful anticipations of 
all that he was to see, and do, and enjoj, when 
mingling among the Indians and participating in . 
their hardy adventures ; and it was still more 
amusing to listen to the gasconadings of littlo 
Tonish, who volunteered to be his faithful squire 
in all his perilous undertakings; to teach him 
how to catch the wild horse, bring down the buf- 
fiedo, and win the smiles of Indian princesses ; — 
^ And if we can only get sight of a prairie on 
are I" said the young Count — " By Gar, I 'U set 
one on fire myself I " cried the little Frenehman. 




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CHAPTER n. 

AJRioxpAnovs DiSAPPonmi). — kxw plans. — pupabatioks to join 

ANXXPLOKOTQ PABTT. — DXPABTUKK PBOM FOBT OIBSOV. — POBBOra 
OP THB TXBDIO&IS. — AIT DDIAM OATALUB. 

IHE anticipations of a young man are 
prone to meet with disappointment 
Unfortunately for the Count's scheme 
of wild campaigning, before we reached the end 
of our journey, we heard that the Osage himters 
had set forth upon their expedition to the buffalo 
grounds. The Count still determined, if possible, 
to follow on their track and overtake them, and 
for this purpose stopped siiort at the Osage 
Agency, a few miles distant from Fort Gibson, to 
make inquiries and preparations. His travelling 
companion, Mr. L., stopped with him ; while the 
Commissioner and myself proceeded to Fort Gib- 
son, followed by the fiiithful and veracious Ton- 
ish. I hinted to him his promises to follow the 
Count in his campaignings, but I found the little 
varlet had a keen eye to self-interest. He was 
aware that the Commissioner, from his official du- 
ties, would remain for a long time in the country, 
and be likely to give him permanent employment, 
while the sojourn of the Count would be but tran- 
sient. The gasconading of the little braggart was 



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18 CRAYON MI8CELLANT. 

suddenly therefore at an end. He spoke not 
another word to the young Count about Indians, 
buffaloes, and wild horses, but putting himself 
tacitly in the train of the Conunissioner, jogged 
silently after us to the garrison. 

On arriving at the fort, however, a new chance 
presented itself for a cruise on the prairies. We 
learnt that a company of mounted rangers, or 
riflemen, had departed but three days previous^ 
to make a wide exploring tour, from the Arkan- 
sas to the Red River, including a part of the 
Pawnee hunting -gix)unds, where no party of 
white men had as yet penetrated. Heye, then, 
was an opportunity of ranging over those danger- 
ous and interesting regions under the safeguard 
of a powerful escort ; for the Commissioner, in 
virtue of his oflSce, could claim the service of 
this newly raised corps of riflemen, and the 
country they were to explore was destined for 
the settlement of some of the migrating tribes 
connected with his mission. 

Our plan was promptly formed and put into 
execution. A couple of Creek Indians were sent 
off express, by the commander of Fort Gibson, 
to overtake the rangers and bring them to a halt 
until the Commissioner and his party should be 
able to join them. As we should have a march 
of three or four days through a wild country, 
before we could overtake the company of rangers, 
an escort of fourteen mounted riflemen, under the 
command of a lieutenant, was assigned us. 

We sent word to the young Count and Mr. L. 
at the Osage Agency, of our new plan and pros- 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIEB. 19 

pects, and invited them to accompany as. The 
County however, could not forego the delights he 
had promised himself in minglmg with absolutely 
savage life. In reply, he agreed to keep with us 
until we should come upon the trail of ^e Osage 
hunters, when it was his fixed resolve to strike 
off into the wilderness in pursuit of them ; and 
his faithful Mentor, though he grieved at the 
madness of the scheme, was too stanch a friend 
to desert him. A general rendezvous of our 
party and esc9rt was appointed, for the following 
morning, at the Agency. 

We now made all arrangements for -prompt 
departure. Our baggage had hitherto been trans- 
ported on a light wagon, but we were now to 
break our way through an untravelled country, 
cut up by rivers, ravines, and thickets, where a 
vehicle of the kind would be a complete impedi- 
ment. We were to travel on horseback, in hun- 
ters' style, and with as little encumbrance as pos- 
sible. Our baggage, therefore, underwent a rigid 
and most abstemious reduction. A pair of sad- 
dlebags, and those by no means crammed, suflBiced' 
for each man's scanty wardrobe, and, with his 
great-coat, were to be carried upon the steed he 
rode. The rest of the baggage was placed on 
pack-hoi-ses. Each one had a bear-skin and a 
couple of blankets for bedding, and there was a 
tent to shelter us in case of sickness or bad 
weather. We took care to provide ourselves 
with flour, coffee, and sugar, together with a 
small supply of salt pork for emergencies ; for 
our main subsistence we were to depend upon 
the chose. 

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20 CRA/ON MISCELLANY. 

Such of our horses as had not been tired out 
in our recent journey, were taken with us as pack- 
horses, or supernumeraries ; but as we were go- 
ing on a long and rough tour, where there would 
be occasional hunting, and where, in case of 
meeting with hostile savages, the safety of the 
rider might depend upon the goodness of his 
steed, we took care to be well mounted. I pro- 
cured a stout silver-gray ; somewhat rough, but 
stanch and powerful ; and retained a hardy pony 
which I had hitherto ridden, and which, being 
somewhat jaded, was suffered to ramble along 
with the pack-horses, to be mounted only in case 
of emergency. 

All these arrangements being made, we left 
Fort Gibson on the morning of the tenth of 
October, and crossing the river in the front of it, 
set off for the rendezvous at the Agency. A ride 
of a few miles brought us to the ford of the Ver- 
digris, a wild rocky scene overhung with forest- 
trees. We descended to the bank of the river 
and crossed in straggling file, the horses stepping 
cautiously from rock to rock, and in a manner 
feeling about for a foothold beneath the rushing 
and brawling stream. 

Our little Frenchman, Tonish, brought up the 
rear with tKe pack-horses. He was in high glee, 
having experienced a kind of promotion. In our 
journey hitherto he had driven the wagon, which 
he seemed to consider a very inferior employ ; 
now he was master of the horse. 

He sat perched like a monkey behind the pack 
on one of the horses; he sang, he shouted, he 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 21 

yelped like an Indian, and ever and anon blas- 
phemed the loitering pack-horses in his jargon rf 
mingled French, English, .and Osage, which not 
one of them could understand. 

As we were crossing the ford we saw on the 
opposite shore a Creek Indian on horseback. He 
had paused to reconnoitre us from the brow of a 
rock, and formed a picturesque object, in unison 
with the wild scenery around him. He wore a 
bright -blue huntmg- shirt trimmed with scarlet 
fringe ; a gayly colored handkerchief was bound 
round his head something like a turban, with one 
end hanging down beside his ear; he held a long 
rifle in his hand, and looked Hke a wild Arab on 
^e prowL Our loquacious and ever-meddling 
little Frenchman called out to him in his Baby- 
lonish jargon, but the siavage, having satisfied Us 
curiosity, tossed his hand in the air, turned the 
head of his steed, and galloping along the shore 
soon disappeared among the trees. 



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CHAPTER m. 



AH mux AeiNCT.— BIFUSMEN. — OSAGXS, ORBBKS, TRAPPXSS, XK>a8 > 
HORSES, HALF-BBEXDS. — BBATTX, THB HUNTSMAN. 




IIAVING crossed the ford, we soon 
reached the Osage Agency where Col. 
Choteau has his offices and magazines, 
for the dispatch of Indian affairs, and the distri- 
bution of presents and supplies. It consisted of 
a few log houses on the banks of the river, and 
presented a motley frontier scene. Here was our 
escort awaiting our arrival ; some were on horse- 
back, some on foot, some seated on the trunks of 
fallen trees, some shooting at a mark. They 
were a heterogeneous crew : some in frock-coats 
made of green blankets ; others in leathern hunt 
ing-shirts, but the most part in marvellously ill 
cut garments, much the worse for wear, and 
evidently put on for rugged service. 

Near by these was a group of Osages : stately 
fellows; stern and simple in garb and aspect 
They wore no ornaments ; their dress consisted 
merely of blankets, leggins, and moccasons. Their 
heads were bare ; their hair was cropped dose, 
excepting a bristling ridge on the top, like the 
crest of a helmet, with a long scalp-lock hanging 
behind. They had fine Roman countenances, and 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 23 

broad deep chests ; and, as they generally wore 
their blankets wrapped round their loins, so as to 
leave the bust and arms bare, they looked like so 
many noble bronze figures. The Osages are the 
finest -looking Indians I have ever seen in the 
West They have not yielded sufficiently as 
yet to the influence of civilization to lay by their 
simple Indian garb, or to lose the habits of the 
hunter and the warrior ; and their poverty pre- 
vents their indulging in much luxury of apparel. 

In contrast to these was a gayly dressed party 
of Creeks. There is something, at the first glance, 
quite Oriental in the appearance of this tribe. 
They dress in calico hunting-shirts, of various 
brilliant colors, decorated with bright fringes, 
and belted with broad girdles, embroidered with 
beads ; they have leggins of dressed deer-skins, 
or of green or scarlet cloth, with embroidered 
knee-bands and tassels ; their moccas<nis are fan- 
cifully wrought and ornamented, and they wear 
gaudy handkerchiefs tastefully bound round their 
heads. 

Beside these, there was a sprinkling of trap- 
pers, hunters, half-breeds, Creoles, negroes of every 
hue; and all that other rabble rout of nonde- 
script beings that keep about the frontiers, be- 
tween civilized and savage life, as those equivo- 
cal birds, the bats, hover about the confines of 
light and darkness. 

The little hamlet of the Agency was in a com- 
plete bustle ; the blacksmith's shed, in particular, 
iras a scene of preparation ; a strapping negro 
was shoeing a horse ; two half-breeds were fabri- 

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24 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

eating iroD spoons in which to melt lead for bul- 
lets. An old trapper, in leathern hunting-frock 
and moccasons, had placed his rifle against a 
work-bench, while he superintended the opera- 
tion, and gossiped about his himting exploits; 
several large dogs were lounging in and out of 
the shop, or sleeping in the sunshine, while a little 
cur, with head cocked on one side, and one ear 
erect, was watching, with that curiosity common 
to little dogs, the process of shoeing the horse, as 
if studying the art, or waiting for his turn to be 
shod. 

We found the Count and his companion, the 
Virtuoso, ready for the march. As they in- 
tended to overtake the Osages, and pass some 
time in hunting the buffalo and the wild horse, 
they had provided themselves accordingly ; hav- 
ing, in addition to the steeds which they used for 
travelling, (Others of prime quality, which were to 
be led when on the march, and only to be 
moimted for the chase. 

They had, moreover, engaged the services of a 
young man- named Antoine, a half-breed of French 
and Osage origin. He was to be a kind of Jack- 
of-all-work ; to cook, to himt, and to take care of 
the horses ; but he had a vehement propensity to 
do nothing, being one of the worthless brood en- 
gendered and brought up among the missions* 
He was, moreover, a little spoiled by being really 
a handsome young fellow, an Adonis of the front- 
ier, and still worse by fancying himself highly 
connected, his sister being concubine to an opu- 
lent white trader ! 

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A TOUR ON THE PBAIBIES. 25 

For our own parts, the Commissioner and my- 
self were desirous, before setting out, to procure 
another attendant well versed in wood-craft, who 
might serve us as a hunter ; for our little French- 
man would have his hands full when in camp, in 
cooking, and on the march, in taking eare of the 
pack-horses. Such a one presented himself, op 
rather was recommended to us, in Pierre Beatte, 
a half-breed of French andj>sage parentage. 
We were assured that he was acquainted with all 
parts of the country, having traversed it in all 
directions, both in hunting and war parties ; that 
he would be of use both as guide and interpreter, 
and that he was a first-rate hunter. 

I confess I did not like his looks when he was 
first presented to me. He was lounging about, 
in an old hunting-fix)ck and metasses or leggins, 
of deer-skin, soiled and greased, and almost 
japanned by constant use. He was apparently 
about thirty-six years of age, square and strongly 
built. His features were not bad, being shaped 
not unlike those of Napoleon, but sharpened up, 
with high Indian cheek-bones. Perhaps the dusky 
greenish hue of his complexion aided his resem- 
blance to an old bronze bust I had seen of the 
Emperor. He had, however, a sullen, saturnine 
expression, set off by a slouched woollen hat, and 
elf-locks that hung about his ears. 

Such was the appearance of the man, and his 
manners were equally unprepossessing. He was 
cold and laconic ; made no promises or profes- 
sions ; stated the terms he required for the ser- 
vices of himself and his horse, which we thought 

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26 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

rather high, but showed no disposition to abate 
them, nor any anxiety to secure our employ. Hp 
had altogether more of the red than the white 
man in his composition ; and, as I had been taught 
to look upon all half-breeds with distrust, as an 
uncertain and faithless ra<;e, I would gladly have 
dispensed with the services of Pierre Beatte. We 
had no time, however, to look out for any one 
more to our tast^ and had to make an arrange- 
ment with him on the spot. He then set about 
making his preparations for the journey, promising 
to join us at our evening's encampment. 

One thing was yet wanting to fit me out for 
the Prairies — a thoroughly trustworthy steed ; 
I was not yet mounted to my mind. The gray 
I had bought, though strong and serviceable, was 
rough. At the last moment I succeeded in get- 
ting an excellent animal : a dark bay ; powerful, 
active, generous-spirited, and in capital condition. 
I mounted him with exultation, and transferred 
the silver gray to Tonish, who was in such ecsta- 
sies at finding himself so completely en Cavar- 
lier, that I feared he might realize the ancient 
and well-known proverb of " a beggar on horse- 
back." 



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CHAPTER IV. 



THl DXPA&TUKX. 




[HE long-drawn notes of a bugle at length 
gave the signal for departure. The ran- 
gers filed off in a straggling line of 
march through the woods: we were soon on 
horseback and following on, but were detained 
by the irregularity of the pack - horses. They 
were unaccustomed to keep the line, and straggled 
from side to side among the thickets, in spite of 
all the pesting and bedeviling of Tonish; who, 
mounted on his gallant gray, with a long rifle 
on his shoulder, worried after them, bestowing a 
superabundance of dry blows and curses. 

We soon, therefore, lost sight of our escort, 
but managed to keep on their track, thridding 
lofty forests, and entangled thickets, and passing 
by Indian wigwams and negro huts, until towards 
dusk we arrived at a frontier farm-house, owned 
by a settler of the name of Berryhill. It was 
situated on a hill, below which the rangers had 
encamped in a circular grove, on the margin of a 
stream. The master of the house received us 
civilly, but could offer us no accommodation, for 
sickness prevailed in his family. He appeared 

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m 



28 CRAYON MiaCELLANr. 

himself to be in no very thriving condition, for 
though bulky in frame, he had a sallow, unhealthy 
complexion, and a whiffling double voice, shifting 
abruptly from a treble to a thorough-bass. 

Finding his log house was a mere hospital, 
crowded with invalids, we ordered our tent to be 
pitched in the farm-yard. 

We had not been long encamped, when our re- 
cently engaged attendant, Beatte, the Osage half- 
breed, made his appearance. He came moimted 
on one horse and leading another, which seemed 
to be well packed with supplies for the expedi- 
tion. Beatte was evidently an " old soldier," as 
to the art of taking care of himself and looking 
out for emergencies. Finding that he was in 
government employ, being engaged by the Com- 
missioner, he had drawn rations of flour and 
bacon, and put them up so as to be weather-proof. 
In addition to the horse for the road and for or- 
dinary service, which was a roughs hardy animal, 
he had another for hunting. This was of a mixed 
breed like himself, being a cross of the domestic 
stock with the wild horse of the prairies ; and a 
noble steed it was, of generous spirit, fine action, 
and admirable bottom. He had taken care to 
have his horses well shod at the Agency. He 
came prepared at all points for war or hunting : 
his rifle on his shoulder, his powder-horn and 
bullet-pouch at his side, his hunting-knife stuck 
in his belt, and coils of cordage at his saddle-bow, 
which we were told were lariats, or noosed cords, 
used in catching the wild horse. 

Thus equipped and provided, an Indian hunter 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAJR1E8. 29- 

on a prairie is like a cruiser on the ocean, per- 
fectly independent of the world, and competent 
to self-protection and self-maintenance. He can 
cast himself loose from every one, shape his own 
course, and take care of his own fortunes. I 
thought Beatte seemed to feel his independence, 
and to consider himself superior to us all, now 
that we were launching into the wilderness. He 
maintained a half proud, half sullen look, and 
great taciturnity ; and his first care was to unpack 
his horses and put them in safe quarters for the 
night His whole demeanor was in perfect con- 
trast to our vaporing, chattering, bustling little 
Frenchman. The latter, too, seemed jealous of 
this new-comer. He whispered to us that these 
half-breeds were a touchy, capricious people, little 
to be depended upon; that Beatte had evidently 
come prepared to take care of himself, and that, 
at any moment in the course of our tour, he 
would be liable to take some sudden disgust or 
affront, and abandon us at a moment's warning : 
having the means of shifting £)r himself, and 
being perfectly at home on the prairies. 




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CHAPTER V. 




» 



FEONTIBB SOKNISS.— ALYOUEOUS OP THE BOKCEB. — LIKOH'S LAW. — 
THE DANGEK OF FINDINQ A HOBSE. — THE TOUKO OSAOE. 

N the following morning, (Oct. 11,) we 
were on the march by half-past seven 
o'clock, and rode through deep rich bot- 
toms of alluvial soil, overgrown with redundant 
vegetation, and trees of an enormous size. Our 
route lay parallel to the west bank of the Arkan- 
sas, on the borders of which river, near the con- 
fluence of the Red Fork, we expected to overtake 
the main body of rangers. For some miles the 
country was sprinkled with Creek villages and 
farm-houses; the inhabitants of which appeared 
to have adopted, with considerable facility, the 
rudiments of civilization, and to have thriven in 
consequence. Their farms were well stocked, 
and their houses had a look of comfort and 
abundance. 

We met with numbers of them returning from 
one of their grand games of ball, for which their 
nation is celebrated. Some were on foot, some 
on horseback ; the latter, occasionally, with gayly 
dressed females behind them. They are a well- 
made race, muscular and closely knit, with well- 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAJRJE8. 81 

tamed thighs and legs. They have a Gyps^ 
fondness for brilliant colors and gay decorations, 
and are bright and fanciful objects when seen at 
a distance on the prairies. One had a scarlet 
handkerchief bound round his head, surmounted 
with a tuft of black feathers like a cock's tail ; 
another had a white handkerchief, with red 
feathers ; while a third, for want of a plume, had 
stuck in his turban a brilliant bunch of sumach. 

On the verge of the wilderness we paused to 
inquire our way at a log house owned by a white 
settler or squatter ; a tall, rawboned, old fellow^ 
with red hair, a lank lantern visage, and an invet- 
erate habit of winking with one eye, as if every- 
thing he said was of knowing import. He was in 
a towering passion. One of his horses was miss- 
ing ; he was sure it had been stolen in the night 
by a straggling party of Osages encamped in a 
neighboring swamp ; but he would have satisfac« 
tion I He would make an example of the villains. 
He had accordingly caught down his rifle from 
the wall, that invariable enforcer of right or 
wrong upon the frontiers, and, having saddled his 
steed, was about to sally forth on a foray into the 
swamp; while a brother squatter, with rifle in 
band, stood ready to accompany him. 

We endeavored to calm the old campaigner of 
the prairies, by suggesting that his horse might 
have strayed into the neighboring woods ; but he 
bad the frontier propensity to charge overything 
to the Indians, and nothing could dissuade him 
from carrying Are and sword into the swamp. 

After riding a few miles further, we lost the' 
3 

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» 



S2 CRA70N MISCELLANY. 

tndl of the main body of rangers, and becamo 
perplexed by a variety of tracks made by the 
Indians and settlers. At length coming to a log 
house, inhabited by a white man, the very last 
on the frontier, we found that we had wandered 
from our true course. Taking us back for some 
distance, he again brought us to the right trail ; 
putting ourselves upon which, we took our final 
departure, and launched into the broad wilderness. 

The trail kept on like a straggling footpath, 
over hill and dale, through brush and brake, and 
tangled thicket, and open prairie. In traversing 
the wilds, it is customary for a party, either of 
luHBe or foot, to follow each other in single file 
like the Indians ; so that the leaders break the 
way for those who follow, and lessen their labor 
and fatigue. In this way, also, the number of a 
party is concealed, the whole leaving but one nar- 
row well-trampled track to mark their course. 

We had not long regained the trail, when, on 
emerging from a forest, we beheld our rawboned, 
hard-winking, hard-riding knight-errant of the 
frontier, descending the slope of a hiU, followed 
by his companion in arms. As he drew near to 
us, the gauntness of his figure and ruefulness ^ 
his aspect reminded me of the description of the 
hero of La Mancha, and he was equally bent on 
affairs of doughty enterprise, being about to pen- 
etrate the thidcets of the perilous swamp, within 
which the enemy lay ensconced. 

While we were holding a parley with him on 
the slope of the hill, we descried an Osage on 
horseback issuing out of a skirt of wood about 



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A TOUR ON TEE PRAIRIES. 88 

half a mfle off, and leading a horse hy a halter. 
The latter was immediately recognized by our 
hard-winking friend as the steed of which he was 
in quest. As the Osage drew near, I was struck 
with his appearance. He was about nineteen or 
twenty years of age, but well grown, with the 
fine Roman countenance common to his tribe ; and 
as he rode, with his blanket wrapped round his 
loins, his naked bust would have furnished a 
model fi)r a statuary. He was mounted on a 
beautiful piebald horse, a mottled white and 
brown, of the wild breed of the prairies, deco- 
rated with a broad collar, from which hung in front 
a tuft of horse-hair dyed of a bright scarlet 

The youth rode slowly up to us with a frank 
open air, and signified by means of our interpreter 
Beatte, that the horse he was leading had wan- 
dered to their camp, and he was now on his way 
to conduct him back to his owner. 

I had expected to witness an expression of 
gratitude on the part of our hard-favored cavalier, 
but to my surprise the old fellow broke out into 
a fruious passion. He declared that the Indians 
had carried off his horse in the night, with the 
intention of bringing him home in the morning, 
and claiming a reward for finding him : a com- 
mon practice, as he affirmed, among the Indians. 
He was, therefore, for tying the yoimg Indian to 
a tree and giving him a sound lashing ; and was 
quite surprised at the burst of indignation which 
this novel mode of requiting a service drew from 
ttB. Such, however, is too often the administra- 
tion of law on the frontier^ << Lynch's law," as it 



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34 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

is technically termed, in which the plaintiff is apt' 
to be witness, jury, judge, and executioner, and 
the defendant to be convicted and punished on 
mere presumption ; and in this way, I am con- 
vinced, are occasioned many of those heart-burn- 
ings and resentments among the Indians, which 
lead to retaliation, and end in Indian wars. 
When I compared the open, noble countenance 
and frank demeanor of the young Osage with 
the sinister visage and high-handed conduct of the 
firontiersman, I felt little doubt on whose back 
a lash would be most meritoriously bestowed. 

Being thus obliged to content lidmself with the 
recovery of his horse, without the pleasure of 
flogging the finder into the bargain, the old Ly- 
curgus, or rather Draco, of the frontier, set off 
growling on his return homeward, followed by his 
brother-squatter. 

As for the youthful Osage, we were all pre- 
possessed in his fevor; the young Count espc- 
dally, with the sympathies proper to his age and 
incident to his character, had taken quite a &ncy 
to him. Nothing would suit but he must have 
the young Osage as a companion and squire in 
his expedition into the wilderness. The youth 
was easily tempted, and, with the prospect of a 
safe range over the buffalo prairies and ^e prom- 
ise of a new blanket, he turned his bridle, left 
the swamp and the encampnfent of his friends 
behind him, and set off to follow the Count in 
his wanderings in quest of the Osage hunters. 

Such is the glorious independence of man in a 
savage state. This youth, with his rifle, his 

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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIE8. M 

blanket, and his horse, was ready at a moment's 
warning to rove the world; he carried all his 
worldly effects with him, and in the absence of 
artificial wants possessed the great secret of per- 
sonal freedom. We of society are slaves, not so 
much to others as to ourselves; our superflu- 
ities are the chains that bind us, impeding every 
movement of our bodies, and thwarting every im- 
pulse of our souls. Such, at least, were my 
speculations at the time, though I am not sure 
but that they took their tone from the enthusiasm 
of the young Count, who seemed more enchanted 
than ever with the wild chivalry of the prairies, 
and talked of putting on the Indian dress and 
adopting the Indian habits during the time he 
hoped to pass with the Osages. 




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CHAPTER VI. 

fEAIL or Sn OSA« HUMnBS. -> SIPAETTIEB Of THl COWKT AHS HI8 
PA&TT. — A DBSXKTSD WAE-OAKP. — A yAORAHT DOG. — THX XIT- 
OAMPXKHT. 

JN the course of the morning the trail wa 
were pursuing was crossed by another, 
which struck off through the forest to 
the west in a direct course for the Arkansas 
River. Beatte, our half-breed, after considering 
it for a moment, pronounced it the trail of the 
Osage hunters ; and that it must lead to the place 
where they had forded the river on their way to 
the hunting-grounds. 

Here then the young Count and his companion 
came to a halt and prepare^ to take leave of us. 
The most experienced frontiersmen in the troop 
remonstrated on the hassard of the undertaking. 
They were about to throw themselves loose in the 
wilderness, with no other guides, guards, or at- 
tendants than a young ignorant half-breed, and 
a still younger Indian. They were embarrassed 
by a pack-horse and two led horses, with which 
they would have to make their way through mat- 
ted forests, and across rivers and morasses. The 
Osages and Pawnees were at war, and they might 
£dl in with some warrior party of the latter, who 

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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 97 

are ferocious foes; besides, tlieir small number, 
and their valuable horses would form a great 
temptation to some oi the straggling bands of 
Osages loitering about the frontier, who im^t 
rob them of their horses in the night, and leave 
them destitute and on foot in the midst of the 
prairies. 

Nothing, however, could restrain the romantk 
ardor <^ the Count for a campaign of buffalo-hunt- 
ing with the Osages, and he had a game spirit that 
seemed always stimulated by the idea of danger. 
His travelling companion, of discreeter age and 
calmer temperament, was convinced of the rash- 
ness g£ the enterprise ; but he could not control 
the impetuous zeal of his youthful friend, and he 
was too loyal to leave him to pursue his hazard- 
ous scheme alone. To our great regret, there- 
fore, we saw them abandon the protection of our 
escort, and strike off on their hap-hazard expedi- 
tion. The old hunters of our party shoc^ their 
heads, and our half-breed, Beatte, predicted all 
kinds <^ trouble to them ; my only hc^ was, 
that they would soon meet with perplexities 
enough to cool the impetuosity of the young 
Count, and induce him to rejoin us. With this 
idea we travelled slowly, and made a consider- 
able halt at noon. After resuming our mardi, 
we came in sight of the Arkansas. It presented 
a broad and rapid stream, bordered by a beach 
of fine sand, overgrown with willows and cotton- 
wood trees. Beyond the river, the eye wandered 
over a beautiM champaign country, of flowery 
plaiiis and sloping inlands, diversified by groves 



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88 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

and clumps of trees, and long screens of wood- 
land ; the whole wearing the aspect of complete, 
and even ornamental cultivation, instead of na- * 
tive wildness. Not far from the river, on an 
open eminence, we passed through the recently 
deserted camping-place of an Osage war-party. 
The frames of the tents or wigwams remained, 
consisting of poles bent into an arch, with each 
end stuck into the ground : these are intertwined 
with twigs and branches, and covered with bark 
and skins. Those experienced in Indian lore, 
can ascertain the tribe, and whether on a hunting 
or a warlike expedition, by the shape and dispo- 
sition of the wigwams. Beatte pointed out to us, 
in the present skeleton camp, the wigwam in 
which the chiefs had held their consultations 
round the council-fire; and an open area, well 
trampled down, on which the grand war-dance 
had been performed. 

Pursuing our journey, as we were passing 
through a forest, we were met by a forlorn, half- 
famished dog, who came rambling along the trail, 
with inflamed eyes and bewildered look. Though 
nearly trampled upon J)y the foremost rangers, 
he took notice of no one, but rambled heedlessly 
among the horses. The cry of "mad dog" was 
immediately raised, and one of the rangers lev- 
elled his rifle, but was stayed by the ever-ready 
humanity of the Commissioner. " He is blind ! " 
said he. " IX is the dog of some poor Indian, 
following his master by the scent. It would be 
a shame to kill so faiths an animal." The 
ranger shouldered his rifle, the dog blundered 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES, 59 

blindly through the cavalcade unhurt, and keep- 
ing his nose to the ground, continued his course 
along the trail, affording a rare instance of a dog 
surviving a bad name. 

About three o'clock, we came to a recent 
camping-place of the company of rangers : the 
brands of one of their fires were still smoking; 
80 that, according to the opinion of Beatte, they 
could not have passed on above a day previously. 
As there was a fine stream of water dose by, 
and plenty of pea-vines for the horses, we en- 
camped here for the night 

We had not been here long, when we heard a 
halloo from a distance, and beheld the young 
Count and his party advancing through the for- 
est. We welcomed them to the camp with heart- 
felt satisfitction ; for their departure upon so haz- 
ardous an expedition had caused us great unea- 
siness. A short experiment had convinced them 
of the toil and difficulty of inexperienced travel- 
lers like themselves making their way through 
the wilderness with such a train of horses, and 
such slender attendance. Fortunately, they deter- 
mined to rejoin us before nightfall ; one night's 
camping out might have cost them their horses. 
The Count had prevailed updn his prot^g^ and 
esquire, the young Osage, to continue with him, 
and still calculated upon achieving great exploits 
with his assistance, on the buffalo prairies. 



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CHAPTER Vn. 




01 



VSWS or THK KANOIftS. — THB COUNT AMD HIS INDIAH SQUIBB. — BAIS 
IN THE WOODS. — WOODLAND SOENB. — OSAGE YILLAGE. — OSAGE VIS- 
IT0B8 AT OUB XTBNINO CAMP. 

N the morning early, (Oc^. 12,) the two 
Greeks who had been sent express by 
the commander of Fort Gibson, to stop 
the company of rangers, arrived at our encamp- 
ment on their return. They had left the company 
encamped about fifty miles distant, in a fine place 
on the Arkansas, abounding in game, where they 
intended to await our arrival This news spread 
animation throughout our party, and we set out 
on our march, at sunrise, with renewed spirit. 

In mounting our ste^, the young Osage at- 
tempted to throw a blanket upon his wild horse. 
The fine, sensitive animal took fright, reared and 
recoiled. The attitudes of the wild horse and 
the almost naked savage would have formed 
studies for a painter or a statuary. 

I often pleased myself in the course of our 
march, with noticing the appearance of the young 
Count and his newly enlisted follower, as they 
rode before me. Never was preux chevalier bet- 
er suited with an esquire. The Count was well 
nounted, and, as I have before observed, was a 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES, 41 

bold and graceful rider. He was fond, too, of 
caracoling his lK»»e, and dashing about in the 
buoyancy of youthful spirits. His dress was a 
gay Indian hunting-frock of dressed deer-skin, 
setting weU to the shape, dyed oi a beautiful 
purple, and fanci^Uy embroidered with silks of 
various colors ; as if it had been the work of some 
Indian beauty, to decorate a favorite chief. With 
this he wore leathern pantaloons and moccasons, 
a foraging-cap, and a double-barrelled gun slung 
by a bandoleer athwart his back : so that he was 
quite a [ncturesque figure as he managed grace- 
fully his spirited steed. 

The young Osage would ride close behind him 
on his wild and beautifully mottled horse, which 
was decorated with crimson tufts of hair. He 
rode, with his finely shaped head and bust naked ; 
his blanket being girt round his waist. He car- 
ried his rifie in one hand, and managed his hor^ 
with the other, and seemed ready to dash off at 
a moment's warning, with his youthful leader, 
on any madcap foray or scamper. The County 
with the sanguine anticipations of youth, prom- 
ised himsdf many hardy adventures and exploits 
in company with his youthful " brave," when we 
should get among the buffaloes, in the Pawnee 
hunting-grounds. 

After riding some distance, we crossed a nar- 
row, deep stream, upon a solid bridge, the remains 
of an old beaver dam ; the industrious community 
whidi had constructed it had all been destroyed. 
Above us, a streaming flight of wild geese, high 
in air, and making a vociferous noise, gave note 
of the waning year. 

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42 CRAYON MISJCELLANr, 

About half-past ten o'clock we made a halt in 
a forest, where there was abundance of the pea^ 
vine. Here we turned the horses loose to graze. 
A fire was made, water procured fix>m an adja- 
cent spring, and in a short time our little French- 
man, Tonish, had a pot of coffee prepared for our 
refreshment. While partaking of it, we were 
joined by an old Osage, one of a small hunting 
party who had recently passed this way. He 
was in search of his horse, which had wandered 
away, or been stolen. Our half-breed, Beatte, 
made a wry face on hearing of Osage hunters in 
this direction. " Until we pass those hunters," 
said he, "we shall see no buffaloes. They 
frighten away everything like a prairie on fire." 

The morning repast being over, the party 
amused themselves in various ways. Some shot 
with their rifles at a mark, others lay asleep half 
buried in the deep bed of foliage, with their heads 
resting on their saddles ; others gossiped round 
the fire at the foot of a tree, which sent up 
wreaths of blue smoke among the branches. The 
horses banqueted luxuriously on the pea-vines, 
and some lay down and rolled amongst them. 

We were overshadowed by lofty trees, with 
straight, smooth trunks, like stately columns ; and 
as the glancing rays of the sun shone through the 
transparent leaves, tinted with the many-colored 
hues of autumn, I was reminded of the effect of 
sunshine among the stained windows and duster- 
ing columns of a Gothic cathedral. Indeed there 
is a grandeur and solemnity in our spacious for- 
ests of the West^ that awaken in me the same 



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A TOUR ON THE PBAJRIE8, 4& 

feeling I have experienced in those vast and yen-, 
erable piles, and the sound of the wind sweep- 
ing through them supplies occasionally the deep 
breathings of the organ. 

About noon the bugle sounded to horse, and 
we were again on the march, hoping to arriye at 
the encampment of the rangers before night ; as 
the old Osage had assured us it was not above 
ten or twelve miles distant In our course through 
a forest, we passed by a lonely pool, covered with 
the most magnificent water-lilies I had ever be- 
held; among which swam several wood-ducks, 
one of the most beautiful of water-fowl, remarka- 
ble for the gracefulness and brilliancy of its plu- 
mage. 

After proceeding some distance farther, we 
came down upon the banks of the Arkansas, at 
a place where tracks of numerous horses, all en- 
tering the water, showed where a party of Osage 
hunters had recently crossed the river on their 
way to the buflfalo range. After letting our 
horses drink in the river, we continued along its 
bank for a space, and then across prairies, where 
we saw a distant smoke, which we hoped might 
proceed from the encampment of the rangers. 
Following what we supposed to be their trail, we 
came to a meadow in which were a number of 
horses grazing: they were not, however, the horses 
of the troop. A little farther on, we reached a 
straggling Osage village, on the banks of the 
Arkansas. Our arrival created quite a sensation. 
A number of old men came forward and shook 
hands with us all severally ; while the women 



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» 



44 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

and children huddled together in groups, staring 
at us wildly, chattering and laughing among 
themselves. We found that all the young men 
of the village had departed on a hunting expedi- 
tion, leaving the women and children and old men 
behirld. Here the Commissioner made a speech 
fix)m on horseback ; informing his hearers of the 
purport of his mission, to promote a general peace 
among the tribes of the West, and urging them 
to lay aside all warlike and bloodthirsty notions, 
and not to make any wanton attacks upon the 
Pawnees. This speech being interpreted by 
Beatte, seemed to have a most pacifying effect 
upon the multitude, who promised faithfully that, 
as far as in them lay, the peace should not be 
disturbed; and indeed their age and sex gave 
some reason to trust that they would keep their 
word. 

Still hoping to reach the camp of the rangers 
before nightfall, we pushed on until twilight, when 
we were obliged to halt on the borders of a ra- 
vine. The rangers bivouacked under trees, at the 
bottom of the dell, while we pitched our tent on 
a rocky knoll near a running stream. The night 
came on dark and overcast, with flying clouds, 
and much appearance of rain. The fires of the 
rangers burnt brightly in the dell, and threw 
strong masses of light upon the robber-looking 
groups that were cooking, eating, and drinking 
around them. To add to the wildness of the 
scene, several Osage Indians, visitors from the 
village we had passed, were mingled among the 
men. Three of them came and seated themselves 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 4ft 

by our fire. They watched everything that was 
^ing on ronnd them in silence, and looked like 
figures of monumental hronze. We gave them 
food, and, what they most relished, coffee ; for the 
Indians partake in the universal fondness for 
this beverage, which pervades the West. When 
they had made their supper, they stretched thek- 
selves side by side before the fire, and began a 
low nasal chant, druifmiing with their hands upon 
their breasts by way of accompaniment. Their 
chant seemed to consist of regular staves, every 
one terminating, not in a melodious cadence, but 
in the abrupt inteijection huh ! uttered almost like 
a hiccup. This chant, we were told by our in- 
terpreter, Beatte, related to ourselves, our appear- 
ance, our treatment of them, and all that they 
knew of our plans. In one part they spoke of 
the young Count, whose animated character and 
eagerness for Indian enterprise had struck their 
fimcy, and they indulged in some waggery about 
him and the young Indian beauties, that produced 
great merriment among our half-breeds. . 

This mode of improvising is common through- 
out the savage tribes ; and in this way, with a 
few simple inflections of the voice, they. chant all 
iheir exploits in war and hunting, and occasion- 
ally indulge in a vein of comic humor and dry 
satire, to which the Indians appear to me much 
more prone than is generally imagined. 

In fact, tlie Indians that I have had an oppor- 
tunity of seeing in real life are quite different 
fi:om those described in poetry. They are by no 
means the stoics that they are represented ; taci- 



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46 .CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

turn, unbending, without a tear or a smile. Taci- 
turn they are, it is true, when in company with 
white men, whose good-will they distrust, and 
whose language they do not understand ; but the 
white man is equally taciturn under like circum- 
stances. When the Indians are among them- 
selves, however, there cannot be greater gossips. 
Half their time is taken up in talking over their 
adventures in war and hunting, and in telling 
whimsical stories. They are great mimics and 
buffoons, also, and entertain themselves exces- 
sively at the expense of the whites with 'whom 
they have associated, and who have supposed 
them impressed with profound respect for their 
grandeur and dignity. They are curious observ- 
ers, noting everything in silence, but with a keen 
and watchful eye; occasionally exchanging a 
glance or a grunt with each other, when anything 
particularly strikes them ; but reserving all com- 
ments until they are alone. Then it is that they 
give full scope to criticism, satire, mimicry, and 
mirth. 

In the course of my journey along the frontier 
I have had repeated opportunities of noticing 
their excitability and boisterous merriment at 
their games ; and have occasionally noticed a 
group of Osages sitting round a fire until a late 
hour of the night, engaged in the most animated 
and lively conversation ; and at times making the 
woods resound with peals of laughter. As to 
teai^, they have them in abundance, both real 
and affected ; at times they make a merit of them. 
No one weeps more bitterly or profusely at the 



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A TOUR ON TBE PRAIRIES. 4T 

deatli of a relative or ipnend ; and they ha^ 
Btated times when they repair to howl and lament 
at their graves. I have heard doleful wailings 
at daybreak, in the neighboring Indiaja villageSi 
made by some of the inhabitants^ who go out at 
that hour into the fields to mourn and weep for 
the dead: at such times, I am told, the tears 
will stream down their cheeks in torrents. 

As far as I can judge, the Indian of poetical ' 
fiction is, like the shepherd of pastoral romance, 
a mere personification of imaginary attributes. 

The nasal chant of our Osage guests gradually 
died away ; they covered their heads with their 
blankets and feU &st asleep, and in a little while 
all was silent, excepting .the pattering of scattered 
rain-drops upon our tent 

In the morning our Indian visitors break£auited 
with us, but the young Osage who was to act as 
esquire to the Count in his knight-errantry on 
the prairies, was nowhere to be found* His wild 
horse, too, was missing, and, after many conject- 
ures, we came to the conclusion that he had 
taken <' Indian leave" of us in the night We 
afterwards ascertained that he had been persuaded 
so to do by the Osages we had recently met with ; 
who had represented to him the perils that would 
attend him in an expedition to the Pawnee hunt- 
iug-grounds, where he might fall into the hands of 
the implacable enemies of his tribe : and, what 
was scarcely less to be apprehended, the annoyances 
to which he would be subjected from the capricious 
and overbearing conduct of the white men; who, 
as I have witnessed in my own short experience, 



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48 'CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

are prone to treat the poor Indians as little better 
than brute animals. Indeed, he had had a speci- 
men of it himself in the narrow escape he made 
from the infliction of " Lynch's law," by the hard- 
winking worthy of the frontier, for the flagitious 
crime of finding a stray horse. 

The disappearance of the youth was generally 
regretted by our party, for we had all taken a 
great fancy to him from his handsome, frank, and 
manly appearance, and the easy grace of his 
deportment He was indeed a native-born gen- 
tleman. By none, however, was he so much la- 
mented as by the young Count, who thus sud- 
denly found himself deprived of his esquire. I 
regretted the departure of the Osage for his own 
sake, for we should have cherished him through- 
out the expedition, and I am convinced, from the 
munificent spirit of his patron, he would have 
returned to his tribe laden with wealth of beads 
and trinkets and Indian blankets. 




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CHAPTER Yin. 



THB HOITKT OAMP. 




I HE weather, which had been rainy in 
the night, having held up, we resumed 
our march at seven o'clock in the morn- 
ing, in confident hope of soon arriving at the en- 
campment of the rangers. We had not ridden 
above three or four miles when we came to a 
large tree which had recently been felled by an 
axe, for the wild honey contained in the hollow 
of its trunk, several broken fiakes of which still 
remained. We now felt sure that the camp could 
not be fer distant. About a couple of miles fiir- 
ther some of the rangers set up a shout, and 
pointed to a number of horses grazing in a woody 
bottom. A few paces brought us to the brow of 
an elevated ridge, whence we looked down upon 
the encampment It was a wild bandit, or Robin 
Hood, scene. In a beautiful open forest, trav- 
ersed by a running stream, were booths of bark 
and branches, and tents of blankets, — ^temporary 
shelters fcom the recent rain, for the rangers 
oommonly bivouac in the open air. There were 
groups of rangers in every kind of imcouth garb 
Some were cooking at large fires made at the 

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50 CBATON MISCELLANY. 

feet of trees ; some were stretching and dressing 
deer-skins ; some were shooting at a mark, and 
some lying about on the grass. Venison jerked, 
and hung on frames, was drying over the embers 
in one place; in another lay carcasses recently 
brought in by the hunters. Stacks of rifles were 
leaning against the trunks of the trees, and sad- 
dles, bridles, and powder-horns hanging above 
them, while the horses were grazing here and 
there among the thickets. 

Our arrival was greeted with acclamation. 
The rangers crowded about their comrades to 
inquire the news from the fort ; for our own part, 
we were received in frank simple hunter^s style 
by Captain Bean, the commander of the com- 
pany ; a man about forty years of age, vigorous 
and active. His life had been chiefly passed on 
the frontier, occasionally in Indian warfare, so 
that he was a thorough woodsman, and a first* 
rate hunter. He was equipped in character ; in 
leathern hunting-shirt and leggins, and a leathern 
foraging-cap. 

While we were conversing with the Captain, a 
veteran huntsman s^proached, whose whole ap* 
pearance struck me. He was of the middle size, 
but tough and weather - proved ; a head partly 
bald and garnished with loose iron-gray locks, 
and a fine black eye, beaming with youthfril 
spirit His dress was similar to that of the 
Captain : a rifle-shirt and leggins of dressed deer- 
skin, that had evidently seen service ; a ppwder- 
hom was slung by his side, a hunting-knife stuck 
in his belt, and in his hand was an ancient and 

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A TOUR ON THE PBAUtlES. 51 

trusty rifle, doubtless as dear to him as a bosom- 
friend. He asked permission to go hmiting^ 
which was readily granted. " That 's old Ryan,** 
said the Captidn, when he had gone ; ^ there 's 
not a better hunter in the camp ; he 's sure to 
bring in game." 

In a little while our pack-horses were unloaded 
and turned loose to revel among the pea-vines. 
Our tent was pitched ; our fire made ; the half 
of a deer had been sent to us from the Captain's 
lodge j Beatte brought in a couple of wild tur- 
keys ; the i^its were laden, and the camp-kettle 
crammed with meat ; and, to crown our luxuries, 
a basin filled with great flakes of delicious honey, 
the ^ils of a plundered bee-tree, was given us 
by one of the rangers. 

Our little Frenchman, Tonish, was in an 
ecstasy, and tnddng up his sleeves to the elbows, 
set to work to make a display of his culinary 
fikill, on whidi he prided himself almost as mudi 
AS upon his hunting, his riding, and his warlike 
piowess* 




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CHAPTER IX. 



A. BEB-H17ST. 




||HE beautiful forest in which we were 
encamped abounded in bee-trees ; . that 
is to say, trees in the decayed trunks of 
which wild bees had established their hives. .It 
is surprising in what countless swarms the bees 
have overspread the Far West within but a 
moderate number of years. The Indians consider 
them the harbinger of the white man, as the 
buffalo is of the red man ; and say that, in pro- 
portion as the bee advances, the Indian and 
buffalo retire. We are always accustomed to 
associate the hum of the bee-hive with the fiirm- 
house and flower-garden, and to consider those 
industrious little animals as connected with the 
busy haunts of man, and I am told that ihe wild 
bee is seldom to be met with at any great dis- 
tance fix)m the fix)ntier. They have been the 
heralds of civilization, steadfastly preceding it 
as it advanced from the Atlantic borders, and 
some of the ancient settlers of the West pretend 
to give the very year when the honey-bee first 
crossed the Mississippi. The Indians with sur- 
piise found the mouldering trees of their forests 



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\ 
A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 53 

suddenly teeming with ambrosial sweets, and 
nothing, I am told, can exceed tlie greedy relish 
with which they banquet for the first time upon 
this unbought luxury of the wilderness. 

At present the honey-bee swarms in myriads, 
in the noble groves and forests which skirt and 
intersect the prairies, and extend along the allu* 
vial bottoms of the rivers. It seems to me as if 
these beautifiil regions answer literally to the 
description of the land of promise, ^ a land flowing 
with milk and honey ; " for the rich pasturiage of 
the prairies is calculated to sustain herds of cattle 
as countless as the sands upon the sea -shore, 
while the flowers with which they are enamelled 
render them a very paradise for the nectar-seek- 
ing bee. 

We had not been long in the camp when a 
party set out in quest of a bee-tree ; and, being 
curious to witness the sport, I gladly accepted an 
invitation to accompany them. The party was 
headed by a veteran bee-hunter, a tall lank feUow 
in homespun garb that hung loosely about his 
limbs, and a straw hat shaped not unlike a bee- 
hive; a comrade, equally uncouth in garb, and 
without a hat, straddled along at his heels, with 
a long rifle on his shoulder. To these succeeded 
half a dozen others, some with axes and some 
with rifles, for no one stirs far fix)m the camp 
without his firearms, so as to be ready either for 
wild deer or wild Indian. 

After proceeding some distance, we came to an 
open gladH on the skirts of the forest. Here our 
leader halted, and then advanced quietly to a low 



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K4 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

bash, on the top of which I perceived a piece of 
honey-comb. This I found was the bait or Inre 
for the wild bees. Several were humming about 
it, and diving into its cells. When they had 
laden themselves with honey, they would rise into 
the air, and dart off in a straight line, ahnost with 
the velocity of a bullet The hunters watched 
attentively the course they took, and then set off 
in the same direction, stumbling along over 
twisted roots and &l]en trees, with their eyes 
turned up to the sky. In this way they traced 
Ihe honey-laden bees to their hive, in the hollow 
trunk of a blasted oak, where, after buzzing 
about for a moment, they entered a hole about 
sixty feet fix)m the ground. 

Two of the bee-hunters now plied their axes 
vigorously at the foot of the tree, to level it with 
the ground. The mere spectators and amateurs, 
in the meantime, drew off to a cautious distance, 
to be out of the way of the &lling of the tree 
and the vengeance of its inmates. The jarring 
blows of the axe seemed to have no effect in 
alarming or disturbing this most industrious com- 
munity. They continued to ply at their usual 
occupations, some arriving full fi:^ighted into port, 
others sallying forth on new expeditions, like so 
many merdiantmen in a money-making metropolis, 
little suspicious of impending bankruptcy and 
downfaU. Even a loud crack which announced 
the disrupture of the trunk, failed to divert their 
attention fix>m the intense pursuit of gain; at 
length down came the tree with a tremendous 
onish, bursting open from end to end, and display- 



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A TOUR ON TBE PRAIRIES. 55 

ing all the hoarded treasures of the oommon- 
wealth. 

One oi the hunters immediately ran up with 
a wisp of lighted hajr as a defence against the 
bees. The latter, however, made no attack and 
eought no revenge ; they seemed stupefied by the 
catastrophe and unsuspicious of its cause, and 
remained crawling and buzzing about the ruins 
without offering us. any molestation. Every one 
of the party now fell to, with spoon and hunting- 
knife, to scoop out the flakes of honey-comb with 
which the hollow trunk was stored. Some of 
them were of old date and a deep brown color, 
others were beautifully white, and the honey in 
^eir cells was almost limpid. Such of the combs 
as were entire were placed in camp-kettles to be 
tionveyed to the encampment ; those which had 
been shivered in the &11 were devoured upon the 
spot Every stark bee-hunter w^ to be seen 
with a ridi morsel in his hand, dripping about 
his fingers, and disappearing as rapidly as a cream 
tart before the holiday appetite of a schoolboy. 

Nor was it the bee-hunters alone that profited 
by the downfidl of this industrious community : 
as if the bees would carry through the similitude 
of Uieir habits with those of laborious and gainful 
man, I beheld numbers fixxn rival hives, arriving 
on eager wing, to enrich themselves with the ruins 
of their neighbors. These busied themselves as 
eagerly and cheerfully as so many wreckers on 
an Indiaman that has been driven on shore ; 
plunging into the cells of the broken honey-combs, 
banqueting greedily on the spoil, and then wing- 



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56 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

ing their way full freighted to their homes. As 
to the poor proprietors of the ruin, they seemed 
to have no heart to do anything, not even to taste 
the nectar that flowed around them ; but crawled 
backwards and forwards, in vacant desolation, as 
I have seen a poor fellow with his hands in his 
pockets, whistling vacantly and despondingly about 
the ruins of his house that had been burnt. 

It is difficult to describe the bewilderment and 
confusion of the bees of the bankrupt hive who 
had been absent at the time of the catastrophe, 
and who arrived from time to time, with full 
cargoes from abroad. At first they wheeled 
about in the air, in the place where the fallen 
tree had once reared its head, astonished at find- 
ing it all a vacuum. At length, as if compre- 
hending their disaster, they settled down in clus- 
ters on a dry branch pf a neighboring tree, 
whence they seemed to contemplate the prostrate 
ruin, and to buzz forth dolefrd lamentations over 
the downfall of their republic It was a scene 
on which the ^^ melancholy Jacques " might have 
moralized by the hour. 

We now abandoned the place, leaving much 
honey in \hQ hollow of the tree. " It will all be 
cleared off by varmint," said one of the rangers. 
"What vermin?" asked L "Oh, bears, and 
skunks, and racoons, and 'possums. The bears 
is the knowingest varmint for finding out a bee- 
tree in the world. They'll gnaw for days to- 
gether at the trunk till they make a hole big 
enough to get in their paws, and then they'U 
haul out honey, bees and all." 



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CHAPTER X. 

Amantatm nr mi oamp. — oowsuuAnoNS — Hunnu' fau axd 
riAsnzro. — iTiRmo sosms. — oaxp milodt.— xbi faxi or am 

AMAnUB OWL. 

IN retaming to the camp, we found it a 
scene of the greatest hilarity. Some 
of the rangers were shooting at a mark, 
others were leaping, wrestling, and playing at 
prison-bars. They were mostly yoimg men, on 
their first expedition, in high health and vigor, 
and buoyant with anticipations ; and I can con- 
ceive nothing more likely to set the youthful 
blood into a flow than a wild wood-life of the 
kind, and the range of a magnificent wilderness, 
abounding with game, and fruitful of adventure. 
We send our youth abroad to grow luxurious and 
effeminate in Europe; it appears to me that a 
previous tour on the prairies would be more likely 
to produce that manliness, simplicity, and self- 
dependence most in unison with our political in- 
stitutions. 

While the young men were engaged in these 
boisterous amusements, a graver set, composed 
of the Captain, the Doctor, and other sages and 
Jeaders of the camp, were seated or stretched out 
on the grass, round a firontier map, holding a con- 



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• 



58 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

Bultation about our position, and the course we 
were to pursue. 

Our plan was to cross the Arkansas just above 
where the Bed Fork falls into it, then to keep 
westerly, until we should pass through a grand 
belt of open forest, called the Gross Timber, 
which ranges nearly north and south from the 
Arkansas to Eed River; after which we were 
to keep a southerly course towards the latter 
river. 

Our half-breed, Beatte, being an experienced 
Osage hunter, was called into the consultation. 
** Have you ever hunted in this direction ? ** said 
the Captain. ^ Yes," was the laconic reply. 

" Perhaps, then, you can tell us in whidi 
dii*ection lies the Bed Fork ? " 

" If you keep along yonder, by the edge of the 
prairie, you will come to a bald hill, with a pile 
of stones upon it." 

<' I have noticed that hill as I was hunting," 
said the Captain. 

" Well ! those stones were set up by the 
Osages as a landmark : from that spot you may 
have a sight of the Bed Foi^" 

^' In tiiat case," cried the Captain, ^ we shall 
reach the Bed Fork to-morrow ; then cross the 
Arkansas above it, into the Pawnee country, 
and then in two days we shall crack buffalo 
bones I " 

The idea of arriving at the adventurous hunt- 
ing-grounds of the Pawnees, and of coming upon 
the traces of the buffaloes, made every eye 
^arkle with animation. Our further conyersa' 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES, 59 

tion was interrupted by the sharp report of a 
rifle at no great distance from the camp. 

** That 's old Ryan's rifle," exclaimed the Cap^ 
tain ; " there 's a buck down, I 'U warrant ! " nor 
was he mistaken; for, before. long, the veteran 
made his appearance, calling upon one of the 
younger rangers to return with him, and* aid in 
bringing home the carcass. 

The surrounding country, in &ct, abounded 
with game, so that the camp was overstocked 
with provisions, and, as no less than twenty bee- 
trees had been cut down in the vicinity, every 
one revelled in luxury. With the wastefiil prod- 
igality of hunters, there was a continual feast- 
ing, and scarce any one put by provision for the 
morrow. The cooking was conducted in hunters' 
style : the meat was stuck upon tapering spits of 
d<^;wood, which were thrust perpendicularly into 
the ground, so as to sustain the joint before the 
fire, where it was roasted or broiled with all its 
juices retained in it in a manner that would have 
tickled the palate of the most experienced gour* 
mand. As much could not be said in &vor of 
the bread. It was little more than a paste made 
of flour and water, and fried like fritters, in lard ; 
though some adopted a ruder style, twisting it 
round the ends of sticks, and thus roasting it 
before the fire. In either way, I have foimd it 
extremely palatable on the prairies. No one 
knows ^% true relish of food until he has a 
hunter^s appetite. 

Before sunset, we were summoned by little 
Traush to a sumptuous repast. Blankets had 



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60 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

been spread oh the ground near to the fire, upon 
which we took our seats. A large dish, or bowl, 
made from the root of a maple-tree, and which ' 
we had purchased at the Indian village, was 
placed on the ground before us, and into it were 
emptied the contents of one of the camp-kettles, 
consistfog of a wild turkey hashed, together with 
slices of bacon and lumps of dough. Beside it 
was placed another bowl of similar ware, con* 
taining an ample supply of fritters. Afler we 
had discussed the hash, two wooden spits, on 
which the ribs of a fat buck were broiling before 
the fire, were removed and planted in the ground 
before us, with a triumphant air, by little Tonish. 
Having no dishes, we had to proceed in hunters' 
style, cutting off strips and slices with our hunt- 
ing-knives, and dipping them in salt and pepper. 
To do justice to Tonish's cookery, however, and 
to the keen sauce of the prairies, never have I 
tasted venison so delicious. With all this, our 
beverage was coffee, boiled in a camp-kettle, 
sweetened with brown sugar, and drunk out of 
tin cups : and such was the style of our banquet- 
ing throughout this expedition, whenever provi- 
sions were plenty, and as long as flour and coffee 
and sugar held out. ^ 

As the twilight thickened into night, the sen* 
tinels were marched forth to then* stations around 
the camp : an indispensable precaution in a coun- 
try infested by Indians. The encampment now 
presented a picturesque appearance. Camp-fires 
were blazing and smouldering here and there 
among the trees, with groups of rangers round 

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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 61 

tbem ; some seated or lying on the ground, others 
Btanding in the ruddy glare of the flames, or in 
shadowy relief. At some of the fires there was 
much boisterous mirth, where peals of laughter 
were mingled with loud ribald jokes and un- 
couth exclamations ; for the troop was evidently 
a raw, undisciplined band, levied among the wild 
youngsters of the frontier, who had enlisted, 
some for the sake of roving adventure, and some 
for the purpose of getting a knowledge of the 
country. Many of them were the neighbors of 
their officers, and accustomed to regard them with 
the familiarity of equals and companions. None 
of them had any idea of the restraint and deco- 
rum of a camp, or ambition to acquire a name 
for exactness in a profession in which they had 
no intention of continuing. 

While this boisterous merriment prevailed at 
some of the fires, there suddenly rose a strain of 
nasal melody from another, at which a choir of 
** vocalists " were uniting their voices in a most 
lugubrious psalm-tune. This was led by one of 
the lieutenants ; a tall, spare man, who we were 
informed had officiated as schoolmaster, singing- 
master, and occasionally as Methodist preacher, 
in one of the villages of the frontier. The chant 
rose solemnly and sadly in the night air, and re- 
minded me of the description of similar canti- 
cles in the camps of the Covenanters ; and, in- 
deed, the strange medley of figures and &ces and 
uncouth garbs congregated together in our troop 
would not have disgraced the banners of Praise- 
God Barebone. 



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68 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

In one of the intervals of this nasal psalmody, 
an amateur owl, as if in competition, began h^ 
dreary hooting. Immediately there was a cry 
throughout the camp of " Charley's owl I Char- 
ley's owl ! " It seems this " obscure bird " had 
visited the camp every night, and had been fired 
at by one of the sentinels, a half-witted lad^ 
named Charley; who, on being called up for 
firing when on duty, excused himself by saying, 
that he understood that owls made uncommonly 
good soup. 

One of the young rangers mimicked the cry 
of this bird of wisdom, who, with a simplicity 
little consonant with his character, came hovering 
within sight, and alighted on the naked brandi 
of a tree lit up by the blaze of our fire. The 
young Count immediately seized his fowling- 
piece, took fatal aim, and in a twinkling the poor 
bird of ill omen came fluttering to the ground. 
Charley was now called upon to make and eat 
his dish of owl-soup, but declined, as he had not 
shot the bird. 

In the course of the evening I paid a visit 
to the Captain's fire. It was composed of huge 
trunks of trees, and of sufficient magnitude to 
roast a bufialo whole. Here were a number of 
the prime hunters and leaders of the camp, some 
sitting, some standing, and others lying on skins 
or blankets before the fire, telling old frontier 
stories about hunting and Indian war&re. 

As the night advanced, we perceived above 
the trees, to the west, a ruddy glow flushing up 
the sky. 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 63 

''That must be a prairie set on fire by the 
Osage hunters," said the Captain. 

** It is at the Red Fork," said Beatte, regard- 
ing the sky. <' It seems but three miles distant, 
yet it perhaps is twenty." 

About half-past eight o'clock, a beautiful pale 
light gradually sprang up in the east, a precursor 
of the rising moon. Drawing off from the Cap- 
tain's lodge, I now prepared for the night's re- 
pose. I had determined to abandon the shelter 
of the tent, and henceforth to bivouac like the 
rangers. A bear-skin spread at the foot of a tree 
was my bed, with a pair of saddle-bags for a pil- 
low. Wrapping myself in blankets, I stretched 
myself on this hunter's couch, and soon fell into a 
sound and sweet sleep, from which I did not awake 
until the bugle sounded at daybreak. 




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CHAPTER XL 




missed, 
night's 
place. 



BBXAKma OP or ths bnoampment. — pionraKSQUB maboh. • 

OAUP-SGBHIS. — TEIDMPB OP A TOUNO UUHTIB. — JUt SUOOISS OP 0U» 
HUKTBBS. — POUL IfUBDIB OP A POLROAT. 

October 14. 
I T the signal-note oi the bngle, the senti- 
nels and patrols mardied in &om their 
stations around the camp and were dis- 
The rangers were roused from their 
repose, and soon a bustling scene took 
While some cut wood, made fires, and 
prepared the morning's meal, others struck their 
foul-weather shelters of blankiets, and made every 
preparation for departure; vhile others dashed 
about, through brush and brake, catching the 
horses and leading or driving them into camp. 

During all this bustle the forest rang with 
whoops, and shouts, and peals of laughter ; when 
all had breakfasted, packed up their effects and 
camp-equipage, and loaded the pack-horses, the 
bugle sounded to saddle and mount 67 eight 
o'clock the whole troop set off in a long straggling 
line, with whoop and halloo, intermingled with 
many an oath at the loitering pack-horses, and in 
a little while the forest, which for several days had 
been the scene of such unwonted bustle and up- 
roar, relapsed into its primeval solitude and silence. 



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A TOUR ON TBE PRAIRIES 6S 

It was a bright sanny morning, with a pure 
transparent atmosphere that seemed to bathe the 
very heart with gladness. Our march continued 
parallel to the Arkansas, through a rich and varied 
country ; — sometimes we had to break our way 
through alluvial bottoms matted with redundant 
vegetation, where the gigantic trees were en- 
tangled with grape-vines, hanging like cordage 
from their branches ; sometimes we coasted along 
sluggish brooks, whose feebly trickling current 
just served to link together a succession of glassy 
pools, imbedded like mirrors in the quiet bosom 
of the forest, reflecting its autumnal foliage and 
patches of the dear blue sky. Sometimes we 
scrambled up broken and ix>cky hills, from the 
summits of which we had wide views stretchihg 
on one side over distant prairies diversified by 
groves and forests, and on the other ranging 
along a line of blue and shadowy hills beyond 
the waters of the Arkansas. 

The appearance of our troop was suited to 
the country; stretching along in a line of up- 
wards of half a mile in length, winding among 
brakes and bushes, and up and down the defiles 
of the hills, — the men in every kind of uncouth 
garb, with long rifles on their shoulders, and 
mounted on horses of every color. The pack- 
horses, too, would incessantly wander from the 
line of march, to crop the surrounding herbage, 
and were banged and beaten back by Tonish and 
his. half-breed compeers, with volleys of mongrel 
oaths. Every now and then the notes of the bu-^ 
gle, Atom the head of the column, would echo 

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66 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

through the woodlands and along the hollow glens, 
summoning up stragglers, and announcing the 
line of march. The whole scene reminded me 
of the description given of hands of buccaneers 
penetrating the wilds of South America, on their 
plundering expeditions against the Spanish settle- 
ments. 

At one time we passed through a luxuriant 
bottom of meadow bordered by thickets, where 
the tall grass was pressed down into numerous 
^deer-beds," where those animals had couched 
the preceding night Some oak-trees also bore 
signs of having been clambered bj bears, in quest 
of acorns, the marks of their daws being visible 
in the bark. 

As we opened a glade of this sheltered mead- 
ow, we beheld several deer bounding away in 
wild affright, until, having gained some distance, 
they would stop and gaze back, with the curiosity 
common to this animal, at the strange intruders 
into their solitudes. There was immediately a 
sharp report of rifles in every direction, from the 
young huntsmen of the troop, but they were too 
eager to aim surely, and the deer, unharmed, 
bounded away into Uie depths of the forest. 

In the course of our march we struck the Ar- 
kansas, but found ourselves still below the Bed 
Fork, and, as the river made deep bends, we again 
left its banks and continued through the woods 
until nearly eight o'clock, when we encamped in 
a beautiful basin bordered by a fine stream, and 
shaded by clumps of lofty oais. 

The horses were now hobbled, that is to say, 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 67 

their fore-legs were fettered with cords or leathern 
straps, so as to impede their movements, and pre- 
vent their wandering from the camp. They were 
then turned loose to graze. A number of ran- 
gers, prime hunters, started qff in different di- 
rections in search of game. There was no 
whooping nor laughing about the camp as in the 
morning; all were either busy about the fires 
preparing the evening^s repast^ or reposing upon 
the grass. Shots were soon heard in various di- 
rections. After a time a huntsman rode into the 
camp, with the carcass of a fine buck hanging 
across his horse. Shortly afterwards came in a 
couple of stripling hunters on foot^ one of whom 
bore on his shoulders the body of a doe. He 
was evidently proud of his spoil, being probably 
one of his first achievements, though he and his 
companion were much bantered by their comrades, 
as young beginners who hunted in partnership. 

Just as the night set in, there was a great 
shouting at one end of the camp, and immediately 
afterwards a body of young rangers came parad- 
ing round the various fires, bearing one of their 
comrades in triumph on their shoulders. He had 
shot an elk for the first time in his life, and it was 
the first animal of the kind that had been killed 
on this expedition. The young huntsman, whose 
name was M'Lellan, was the hero of the camp 
for the night, and was the << father of the feast" 
into the bargain ; for portions of his elk were 
seen roasting at every fire. 

The other hunters returned without success. 
The Captain had observed the tracks of a buffido^ 



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68 CRATON MiaCELLANT. 

which must have passed within a few days, and 
had tracked a bear for some distance until the 
' footprints had disappeared. He had seen an elk 
too, on the banks of the Arkansas, which walked 
out on a sand - bar of the river, but before he 
could steal round through the bushes to get a 
shot, it had reentered the woods. 

Our own hunter, Beatte, returned silent and 
sulkj, from an unsuccessful hunt As yet he had 
brought us in nothing, and we had depended for 
our supplies of venison upon the Captain's mess. 
Beatte was evidently mortified, for he looked 
down with contempt upon the rangers, as raw 
and inexperienced woodsmen, but little skilled 
in hunting ; — they, on the other hand, regarded 
Beatte with no very complacent eye, as one of an 
evil breed, and always spoke of 1dm as " the In- 
dian." 

Our little Frenchman Tonish, also, by his in* 
cessant boasting and chattering, and gasconading, 
in his balderdashed dialect^ had drawn upon him- 
self the ridicule of many of the wags of the 
troop, who amused themselves at his expense in 
a kind of raillery by no means remarkable for its 
delicacy ; but the little rai^et was so completely 
fortified by vanity and self-conceit, that he was 
invulnerable to every joke. I must confess, how- 
ever, that I felt a little mortified at the sorry fig- 
ure our retainers were making among these moss- 
troopers of the frontier. Even our very equip- 
ments came in for a share of unpopularity, and I 
heard many sneers at the double-barrelled guns 
with which we were provided against sniaUer 



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A TOUR ON TEE PRAJRIEa. 6d 

game ; the lads of the West holding "^ shot-gans," 
as they call them, in great contempt, thinking 
grouse, partridges, and even wild turkeys as be- 
neath their serious attention, and the rifle the only 
firearm worthy of a hunter. 

I was awakened before daybreak the next 
morning by the mournful howling of a wolf, who 
was skulking about the purlieus of the camp, at- 
tracted by the scent of venison. Scarcely had the 
first gray streak of dawn appeared, when a 
youngster at one of the distant lodges, shaking 
off his sleep, crowed in imitation of a cock, with 
a loud clear note and prolonged cadence, that 
would have done credit to the most veteran chan- 
ticleer. He was immediately answered from 
another quarter, as if from a rival rooster. The 
chant was echoed from lodge to lodge, and fol- 
lowed by the cackling of hens, quacking of ducks, 
gabbling of turkeys, and grunting of swine, until 
we seemed to have been transported into the 
midst of a farm-yard, with all its inmates in full 
concert around us. 

After riding a short distance this morning, we 
came upon a well-worn Indian track, and follow- 
ing it, scrambled to the summit of a hill, whence 
we had a wide prospect over a country diversi- 
fied by rocky ridges and waving lines of upland, 
and enriched by groves and clumps of trees of va- 
ried tuft and foliage. At a distance to the west, 
to our great satis&ction, we beheld the Red Fork 
xolling its ruddy current to the Arkansas, and 
found that we were above the point of junction. 
We now descended and pushed forward, with 



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70 CJHATOK MISCELLANY. 

much difficulty, through the rich alluvial bottom 
that borders the Arkansas. Here the trees were 
interwoven with grape-vines, forming a kind of 
cordage, from trunk to trunk and limb to limb ; 
there was a thick undergrowth, also, of bush and 
bramble, and such an abundance of hops, fit for 
gathering, that it was difficult for our horses to 
force their way through. 

The soil was imprinted in many places with 
the tracks of deer, and the daws of bears were 
to be traced on various trees. Every one was on 
the look-out in the hope of starting some game, 
when suddenly there was a bustle and a clamor in 
a distant part of the line. A bear I a bear ! was 
the cry. We all pressed forward to be present 
at the sport, when to my infinite though whimsi- 
cal chagrin I found it to be our two worthies, 
Beatte and Tonish, perpetrating a foul murder 
on a polecat, or skunk! The animal had en- 
sconced itself beneath the trunk of a fallen tree, 
whence it kept up a vigorous defence in its pecu- 
liar style, until the surrounding forest was in a 
high state of fragrance. 

Gibes and jokes now broke out on all sides at 
the expense of the Indian hunter, and he was 
advised to wear the scalp of the skunk as the 
only trophy of his prowess. When they found, 
however, that he and Tonish were alwolutely 
bent upon bearing off the carcass as a peculiar 
dainty, there was a universal expression of dis- 
gust ; and they were regarded as litUe better than 
cannibals. 

Mortified at this ignominious debut of our two 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIEB. 71 

hunters, I insisted upon their abandoning their 
prize and resuming their march. Beatte com- 
plied with a dogged, discontented air, and lagged 
behind muttering to himself. Tonish, however, 
with his usual buoyancy, consoled himself by 
vociferous eulogies on the richness and delicacy 
of a roasted polecat, which he swore was consid- 
ered the daintiest of dishes by all experienced 
Indian gourmands. Jt was vnth difficulty I could 
silence his loquacity by repeated and peremptory 
commands. A Frenchman's vivacity, however, 
if repressed in one way, will break out in another, 
and Tonish now eased off his spleen by bestowing 
volleys of oaths and dry blows on the pack- 
horses. I was likely to be no gainer in the end, 
by my opposition to the humors of these varlets, 
for after a time Beatte, who had lagged behind, 
rode up to the head of the line to resume his sta- 
tion as a guide, and I had the vexation to see the 
carcass of his prize, stripped of its skin, and look- 
ing like a &t sucking-pig, dangling behind his 
saddle. I made a solemn vow, however, in secret, 
that our fire should not be disgraced by the cook- 
ing of that polecat. 




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CHAPTER Xn. 

tm aEOssnra ov ths abkaksas 

JE had now arrived at the river, aboat a 
quarter of a mile above the junction of 
the Red Fork; but the banks were 
steep and crumbling, and the current was deep 
and rapid. It was impossible, therefore, to cross 
at this place ; and we resumed our painful course 
through the forest, dispatching Beatte ahead, in 
search of a fording place. We had proceeded 
about a mile further, when he rejoined us, bring* 
ing intelligence of a place hard by, where the 
river, for a great part of its breadth, was rendered 
fordable bj sand-bars, and the remainder might 
easily be swum by the horses. 

Here, then, we made a halt Some of the 
rangers set to work vigorously with their axes, 
felling trees on the edge of the river, wherewith 
to form rafts for the transportation of their bag- 
gage and camp equipage. Others patrolled the 
banks of the river farther up, in hopes of finding a 
better fording place ; being unwilling to risk their 
horses in the deep channel. 

It was now that our worthies, Beatte and Ton- 
ish, had an opportunity of displaying their Indian 
adroitness and resource. At the Osage village 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 78 

yrhidi we had passed a day or two before, they 
had procured a dry bu£^lo skin. This was now 
produced ; cords were passed through a number 
of small eyelet-holes with which it was bordered, 
and it was drawn up, until it formed a kind of 
deep trough. Sticks were then placed athwart 
it on the inside, to keep it in shape ; our camp 
equipage and a part of our baggage were placed 
within, and the singular bark was carried down 
the bank and set afloat. A cord was attached 
to the prow, which Beatte took between his teeth, 
and throwing himself into the water, went ahead, 
towing the bark after him ; while Tonish followed 
behind, to keep it steady and to propel it. Part 
of the way they had foothold, and were enabled 
to wade, but in the main current they were 
obliged to swim. The whole way, they whooped 
and yelled in the Indian style, until they landed 
safely on the opposite shore. 

The Commissioner and myself were so well 
j^eased with this Indian mode of ferriage, that 
we determined to trust ourselves in the buffalo 
hide. Our companions, the Count and Mr. L., 
bad proceeded with the horses, along the river* 
bank, in search of a ford which some of the rang, 
ers had discovered, about a mile and a half dis- 
tant. While w.e were waiting for the return of 
our ferryman, I happened to cast my eyes upon a 
heap of luggage under a bush, and descried the 
sleek carcass of the polecat, snugly trussed up, 
and ready for roasting before the evening fire. I 
could not resist the temptation to plump it into 
the, river, when it sunk to the bottom like a lump 



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^ 



74 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

of lead ; and thus our lodge was relieved from 
the bad odor which this savory viand had threat- 
ened to bring upon it 

Our men having recrossed with their cockle^ 
shell bark, it was drawn on shore, half filled with 
saddles, saddlebags, and other luggage, amounting 
to a hundred weight ; and being again placed in 
the water, I was invited to take my seat It ap- 
peared to me pretty much like the embarkation 
of the wise men of Gotham, who went to sea in a 
bowl : I stepped in, however, without hesitation, 
though as cautiously as possible, and sat down on 
top of the luggage, the margin of the hide sink- 
ing to within a hand's breadth of the water's 
edge. Rifles, fowling-pieces, and other articles 
of small bulk, were then handed in, until I pro- 
tested against receiving any more freight We 
then launched forth upon the stream, the bark 
being towed as before. 

It was with a sensation half serious, half comic, 
that I found myself thus afloat, on the skin of a 
buflalo, in the midst of a wild river, surrounded 
by wilderness, and towed along by a half-savage, 
whooping and yeUing like a devil incarnate. To 
please the vanity of little Tonish, I discharged the 
double-barrelled gun, to the right and left, when 
in the centre of the stream. The report echoed 
along the woody shores, and was answered by 
shouts from some of the i*angers, to the great ex- 
altation of the little Frenchman, who took to him- 
self the whole glory of this Indian mode of nav- 
igation. 

Our voyage was accomplished happily; the 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 75 

Commissioner was ferried across with equal suc- 
cess, and all our effects were brought over in the 
same manner. Nothing could equal the vainglo- 
rious vaporing of little Tonish, as he strutted 
about the shore, and exulted in his superior skill 
and knowledge, to the rangers. Beatte, however, 
kept his proud, saturnine look, without a smile. 
He had a vast contempt for the ignorance of the 
rangers, and felt that he had been undervalued 
by them. His only observation was, "Dey now 
see de Indian good for someting, anyhow ! " 

The broad, sandy shore where we had landed, 
was intersected by innumerable tracks of elk, deer, 
bears, racoons, turkeys, and water -fowl. The 
river scenery at this place was beautifully diver, 
sified, presenting long, shining reaches, bordered 
by willows and cotton-wood trees ; rich bottoms, 
with lofty forests; among which towered enor- 
mous plane-trees, and the distance was closed in 
by high embowered promontories. The foliage 
had a yellow autumnal tint, which gave to the 
sunny landscape the golden tone of one^ of the 
landscapes of Claude Lorraine. There was ani- 
mation given to the scene by a raft of logs and 
branches, on which the Captain and his prime 
con^anion, the Doctor, were ferrying their effects 
acaross the stream ; and by a long line of rangers 
on horseback, fording the river obliquely, along 
n series of sand-bars, about a mile and a half dis- 
tant 

5SS 

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CHAPTER Xm. 

THB OAMP OF THB GLBN'. 

OAMP-OOaSIP. — PAWITBKS AND THBIB HABITS. — A HUHTXE'S AX>VIS- 
TURB. — HOSSSS FOUin>, AND MEN I.OST. 

IEING joined by the Captain and some 
of the rangers, we struck into the woods 
for about half a mile, and then entered a 
wild, rocky dell, bordered by two lofty ridges of 
lime-stone, which narrowed as we advanced, un- 
til they met and united ; making almost an angle. 
Here a fine spring of water rose among the rocks, 
and fed a silver rill that ran the whole length of 
the dell, freshening the grass with which it was 
carpeted. 

In this rocky nook we encamped, among tall 
trees. The rangers gradually joined us, strag- 
gling through the forest singly or in groups ; 
some on horseback, some on foot, driving their 
horses before them, heavily laden with baggage, 
some dripping wet, having fallen into the river ' 
for they had experienced much fatigue and 
trouble from the length of the ford and the depth 
and rapidity of the stream. They looked not 
unlike banditti returning with their plunder ; and 
the wild dell was a retreat worthy to receive 



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A TOUR ON TBE PRAlRIEa. W 

them. The eflfect was heightened after darkj 
when the light of the fires was cast upon rugged- 
looking groups of men and horses ; with haggage 
tumbled in heaps, rifles piled against the trees, 
and saddles, bridles, and powder-horns hanging 
about their trunks. 

At the encampment we were joined bj the 
young Count and his companion, and the young 
half-breed, Antoine, who had all passed success- 
fully by the ford. To my annoyance, however, 
I discovered that both of my horses were missing. 
I had supposed them in the charge of Antoine : 
but he, with characteristic carelessness, had paid 
no heed to them, and they had probably wandered 
from the line on the opposite side of the river. 
It was arranged that Beatte and Antoine should 
recross the river at an early hour of the morning, 
in search of them. 

A fat buck and a number of wild turkeys be- 
ing brought into the camp, we managed, with the 
addition of a cup of coffee, to make a comfortable 
supper ; after which I repaired to the Cs^tain's 
lodge, which was a kind of council-fire and gos- 
nping-plaoe fcH* the veterans of the camp. 

As we were conversing together, we observed, 
as on former nights, a dusky, red glow in the 
west, above the summits of the surrounding cliffs. 
It was again attributed to Indian fires on the 
prairies ; and supposed to be on the western side 
of Uie Arkansas. K so, it was thought they 
must be made by some party of Pawnees, as the 
Osage hunters seldom ventured in that quarter. 
Oar half4)reeds, however, pnmounced them Osage 



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78 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

fires, and that they were on the opposite side 
of the Arkansas. 

The conversation now turned upon the Paw- 
nees, into whose hunting-grounds we were about 
entering. There is always some wild untamed 
tribe of Indians, who form for a time the terror 
of a frontier, and about whom all kinds of fearRil 
stories are told. Such, at present, was the case 
with the Pawnees, who rove the regions between 
the Arkansas and the Bed River, and the prai- 
ries of Texas. They were represented as admi- 
rable horsemen, and always on horseback, — 
mounted on fleet and hardy steeds, the wild race 
of the prairies. With these they roam the great 
plains that extend about the Arkansas, the Bed 
River, and through Texas, to the Rocky Mountains ; 
sometimes engaged in hunting the deer and buf- 
&lo, sometimes in warlike and predatory expedi- 
tions; for, like their counterparts, the sons of 
Ishmael, their hand is against every one, and 
every one's hand against them. Some of them 
have no fixed habitation, but dwell in tents of 
skins, easily packed up and transported, so that 
they are here to-day, and away, no one knows 
where, to-morrow. 

One of the veteran hunters gave several anec- 
dotes of their mode of fighting. Luckless, accord- 
ing to his account, is the band of weary traders 
or hunters descried by them, in the midst of a 
prairie. Sometimes they i/nll steal upon them 
by stratagem, hanging with one leg over the sad- 
dle, and their bodies concealed, — so that their 
troop at a distance has the appearance of a gang 



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A TOUR ON THE PBAIBIEB. 79 

of wild horses. When thej have thus gained 
sufficiently upon the enemy, they will suddenly 
raise themselves in their saddles, and come like a 
rushing hlast, all flattering with feathers, shaking 
their mantles, hrandishing their weapons, and 
making hideous yells. In this way they seek to 
strike a panic into the horses, and put them to 
the scamper, when they will pursue and carry them 
off in triumph. 

The hest mode of defence, according to this 
veteran woodsman, is to get into the covert of 
Bome wood, or thicket ; or, if there be none at 
hand, to dismount, tie the horses firmly head to 
head in a circle, so that they cannot break away 
and scatter, and resort to the shelter of a ravine, 
or make a hollow in the. sand, where they may be 
screened from the shafts of the Pawnees. The 
latter chiefly use the bow and arrow, and are dex- 
terous archers, — circUng round and round their 
enemy, and launching their arrows when at full 
speed. They are chiefly formidable on the prai- 
ries, where they have free career for their horses, 
and no trees to turn aside their arrows. They 
will rarely follow a flying enemy into the forest. 

Several anecdotes, also, were given, of the 
secrecy and caution with which they will follow, 
and hang about the camp of an enemy, seeking a 
favorable moment for plunder or attack. 

" We must now begin to keep a sharp look- 
out," said the Captain. "I must issue written 
orders, that no man shall hunt without leave, or 
fire off a gun, on pain of riding a wooden horse 
with a sharp back. I have a wild crew of young 
6 

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80 CJULYON MISCELLANY. 

• 
fellows, nnaocustomed to frontier serrice. It 
mil be difficult to teach them caution. We are 
now in the land of a silent, watchful, crafty peo« 
pie, who, when we least suspect it, may be around 
us, spying out all our movements, and ready to 
pounce upon all stragglers." 

" How will you be able to keep your men from 
firing, if they see game while strolling round the. 
camp ? " asked one of the rangers. 

''They must not take their guns with them 
miless they are on duty, or have permission." 

''Ah, Captain!'' cried the ranger, "that will 
never do for me. Where I go, my rifle goes. I 
never like to leave it behind ; it 's like a part of 
mysel£ There 's no one will take such care of 
it as I, and there 's nothing will take such care 
of me as my rifle." 

" There 's truth in all that," said the Captain, 
touched by a true hunter's sympathy. " I *ve had 
my rifle pretty nigh as long as I have had my 
wife, and a faithful friend it has been to me." 

Here the Doctor, who is as keen a hunter as 
the Captain, joined in the conversation : — "A 
neighbor of mine says, next to my rifle, I 'd as 
leave lend you my i/dfe." 

"There's few," observed the Captain, "that 
take care of their rifles as they ought to be 
taken care of." 

" Or of their wives either," replied the Doctor, 
with a wink. 

" That 's a feet," rejoined the Captain. 

Word was now brought that a party of four 
rangers, headed by "Old Ryan," were missing. 

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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 81 

Thej had separated fix)m the main body, on the 
opposite side of the river, when searching for a 
ford, and had straggled off, Nobody knew whither. 
Manj conjectures were made about them, and 
some apprehensions expressed for their safety. 

^ I should send to look after them," said the* 
Certain, <<but old Rjan is with them, and he 
knows how to take care of himself and of them 
too. If it were not for him, I would not give 
much for the rest ; but he is as much at home in 
the woods or on a prairie as he would be in his 
own &rm-7ard. He 's never lost, wherever he is. 
There's a good gang of them to stand by one 
another, — four to watch, and one to take care (^ 
the fire." 

'^ It 's a dismal thing to get lost at night in a 
strange and wild country," said one of the younger 
rangers. 

" Not if you have one or two in company," 
said an older one. ^ For my part, I could feel 
as cheerful in this hollow as in my own home, if 
I had but one comrade to take turns to watch 
and keep the fire going. I could lie here for 
hours, and gaze up to that blazing star there, 
that seems to look down into the camp as if it 
were keeping guard over it" 

^ Aye, the stars are a kind of company to one, 
when you have to keep watch alone. That's a 
dieerM star, too, somehow ; that 's the evening 
star, the planet Venus they call it, I think." 

« If that 's the planet Venus," said one of the 
council, who, I believe, was the psalm-singing 
schoolmaster, ^ it bodes us no good ; for I recol- 

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82 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

lect reading in some book that the Pawnees wor* 
Bhip that star, and sacrifioe their prisoners to it. 
So I should not feel the better for the sight of 
that star in this part of the country." 

"WeU," said the sergeant^ a thorough-bred 
'woodsman, ''star or no star, I have passed many 
a night alone in a wilder place than this, and slept 
sound too, I '11 warrant you. Once, however, I 
had rather an uneasy time of it I was belated 
in passing through a tract of wood, near the Tom- 
bigbee Riyer ; so I struck a light, made a fire, 
and turned my horse loose, while I stretched my- 
self to sleep. By-and-by, I heard the wolves 
howl. My horse came crowding near me for 
protection, for he was terribly frightened. I 
drove him off, but he returned, and drew nearer 
and nearer, and stood looking at me and at the 
fire, and dozing, and nodding, and tottering on 
his fore-feet, for he was powerful tired. After a 
while, I heard a strange dismal cry. I thought 
at first it might be an owL I heard it again, 
and then I knew it was not an owl, but must be 
a panther. I felt rather awkward, for I had no 
weapon but a double-bladed penknife. I how- 
ever prepared for defence in the best way I could, 
and piled up small brands fix)m the fire, to pep- 
per him with, should he come nigh. The com- 
pany of my horse now seemed a comfort to me ; 
the poor creature laid down beside me and soon 
fell asleep, being so tired. I kept watch, and nod- 
ded and dozed, and started awake, and looked 
round, expecting to see the glaring eyes of the 
panther dose upon me ; but, somehow or other, 

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A TOUR ON THE PBA1RIE8. 88 

fiidgae got the better of me, and I fell asleep out- 
right In the morning I found the tracks of a 
panther within sixtj paces. Thej were as large 
as mj two fists. He had evidently been walk- 
ing backwards and forwards, trying to make up 
his mind to attack me ; but luckily, he had not 
courage." 

Oct 16. I awoke before daybreak. The 
moon was shining feebly down into the glen, from 
among light drifting clouds ; the camp-fires were 
nearly burnt out, and the men lying about them, 
wrapped in blankets. With the first streak of 
day, our huntsman, Beatte, with Antoine, the 
young half-breed, set off to recross the river, in 
search of the stray horses, in company with sev- 
eral rangers who had left their rifles on the op- 
posite shore. As the ford was deep, and they 
were obliged to cross in a diagonal line, against 
a rapid current, they had to be mounted on the 
tallest and strongest horses. 

By eight o'clock, Beatte returned. He had 
found the horses, but had lost Antoine. The lat* 
ter, he said, was a boy, a greenhorn, that knew 
nothing of the woods. He had wandered out of 
sight of him, and got lost However, there were 
plenty more for him to fall in company with, as 
some of the rangers had gone astray also, and old 
Ryan and his party had not returned. 

We waited until the morning was somewhat 
advanced, in hopes of being rejoined by the strag- 
glers, but they did not make their appearance. 
The Captain observed, that th^ Indians on the 
of^posite Bide of the river were all well disposed. 



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84 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

to the whites ; so that no serious apprehensions 
need be entertained for the safety of the missing. 
The greatest danger was^ that their horses might 
be stolen in the night hj straggling Osages. He 
determined, therefore, to proceed, leaving a rear- 
guard in the camp to await their arrival. 

I sat on a rock that overhung the spring at 
the upper part of the dell, and amused myself by 
watching the changing scene before me. First, 
the preparations for departure. Horses driven 
in from the purlieus of the camp ; rangers riding 
about among rocks and bushes in quest of others 
that had strayed to a distance ; the bustle of 
packing up camp-equipage, and the clamor after 
kettles and frying-pans borrowed by one mess 
from another, mixed up with oaths and exclama- 
tions at restive horses, or others that had wan- 
dered away to graze after being packed : among 
which the voice of our little Frenchman, Tonish, 
was particularly to be distinguished. 

The bugle sounded the signal to mount and 
march. The troop filed off in irregular line down 
the glen, and through the open forest, winding 
and gradually disappearing among the trees, 
though the clamor of voices and the notes of the 
bugle could be heard for some time afterwards. 
The rear-guard remained under the trees in the 
lower part of the dell : some on horseback, with 
their rifles on their shoulders ; others seated by 
the fire or lying on the ground, gossiping in a low, 
lazy tone of voice, their horses unsaddled, standing 
and dozing around; while one of the rangers, 
profiting by thia interval of leisure, was shaving 



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A TOUR ON THE PEAIBXE8. 85 

himself before a pocket-mirror stuck against the 
trunk of a tree. 

The clamor of voices and the notes of the bu- 
gle at length died away, and the glen relapsed into 
quiet and silence, broken occasionally by the low 
murmuring tone of the group around the fire, or 
the pensive whistle of some laggard among the 
trees ; or the rustling of the yellow leaves, which 
the lightest breath of air brought down in waver- 
ing showers, a sign of the departing glories of the 
year. 




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CHAPTER XIV. 



SEBBpSHOonira.— un oir tbm psaibiis.— bsaotiful nroAiiPicm*— 

BUKTBR'S luck. — ARBGDOSBS OF THB DBIJLWA&BS AND THSIE SUPXBr 

snnoKS. 




JAVING passed through the skirt of 
woodland bordering the river, we as- 
cended the hills, taking a westerly course 
through an undulating country of " oak openings," 
where the eye stretched over wide tracts of hill 
and dale, diversified by forests, groves, and clumps 
of trees. As we were proceeding at a slow pace, 
.those who were at the head of the line descried 
four deer grazing on a grassy slope about half a 
mile distant They apparently had not perceived 
our approach, and continued to graze in perfect 
tranquillity. A young ranger obtained permission 
from the Captain to go in pursuit of them, and 
the troop halted in lengthened line, watching him 
in silence. Walking hb horse slowly and cau- 
tiously, he made a circuit until a screen of wood 
intervened between him and the deer. Dismount- 
ing then, he left his horse among the trees, and 
creeping round a knoll, was hidden from our view. 
"We now kept our eyes intently fixed on the deer, 
which continued grazing, unconscious of their 
danger. Presently there was the sharp report of 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 87 

a rifle ; a fine buck made a convulsive bound and 
fell to the earth ; his companions scampered off. 
Immediately our whole line of march was broken , 
there was a helter-skelter galloping of the young. 
Bters of the troop, eager to get a shot at the fu- 
gitives ; and one of the most conspicuous person- 
ages in the chase was our little Frenchman 
Tonish on his silver -gray, having abandoned 
his pack-horses at the first sight of the deer. It 
was some time before our scattered forces could 
be recalled by the bugle, and our march resumed. 

Two or three times in the course of the day 
we were interrupted by hurry-scurry scenes of 
the kind. The young men of the troop were fiiU 
of excitement on entering an unexplored country 
abounding in game, and they were too little ac- 
customed to discipline or restraint to be kept in 
order. No one, however, was more unmanage- 
able than Tonish. Having an intense conceit of 
his skill as a hunter, and an irrepressible passion 
£>r display, he was continually sallying forth, 
like an ill-broken hound, whenever any game 
was started, and had as often to be whipped back. 

At length his curiosity got a salutary check. 
A fiit doe came bounding along in full view of 
the whole liqe. Tonish dismounted, levelled his 
rifie, and had a fair shot The doe kept on. He 
sprang upon his horse, stood up on the saddle 
like a posture-master, and continued gazing after 
the animal as if certain to see it &1L The doe, 
however, kept on its way rejoicing; a laugh 
broke out along the line, the little Frenchman 
slipped quietly into his saddle, began to belabor 



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88 CRAYON MiaCELLANY. 

and blaspheme the wandering pack-horses, as if 
they had been to blame, and for some time we 
were relieved from his vaunting and vaporing. 

In one place of our march we came to the 
remains of an old Indian encampment, on the 
banks of a fine stream, with the moss-grown 
skulls of deer lying here and there about it As 
we were in the Pawnee country, it was supposed, 
of course, to have been a camp of those formida- 
ble rovers ; the Doctor, however, after consider- 
ing the shape and disposition of the lodges, pro- 
nounced it the camp of some bold Delawares, 
who had probably made a brief and dashing 
excursion into these dangerous hunting-grounds. 

BLaving proceeded some distance ftirther, we 
observed a couple of figures on horseback, slowly 
moving parallel to us along the edge of a naked 
hill about two miles distant; and apparently 
reconnoitring us. There was a halt, and much 
gazing and conjecturing. Were they Indians? 
If Indians, were they Pawnees ? There is some* 
thing exciting to the imagination and stirring to 
the feelings, while traversing these hostile plains, 
in seeing a horseman prowling along the horizon. 
It is like descrying a sail at sea in time of war, 
when it may be either a privateer or a pirate. 
Our conjectures were soon set at rest by recon- 
noitring the two horsemen through a small spy- 
glass, when they proved to be two of the men we 
had left at the camp, who had set out to rejoin us, 
and had wandered ftx)m the track. 

Our march this day was animating and delight- 
fiiL We were in a jegion of adventure ; break* 



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A TOUR OK THE PRAIRIES. 89 

ing our way through a country hitherto untrodden 
by white men, excepting perchance by some soli- 
tary trapper. The weather was in its perfection, 
temperatey genial, and enlivening ; a deep blue 
sky with a few light feathery clouds, an atmos- 
phere of perfect transparency, an air pure and 
bland, and a glorious country spreading out &r 
and wide in the golden sunshine of an autumnal 
day; but all silent, lifeless, without a human 
habitation, and apparentiy without a human in- 
habitant ! It was as if a ban hung over this 
fiur but fated region. The very Indians dared 
not abide here, but made it a mere scene of per- 
ilous enterprise, to hunt for a few days, and then 
away. 

After a march of about fifteen miles west we 
encamped in a beautiful peninsula, made by the 
windings and doublings of a deep, clear, and 
almost motionless brook, and covered by an open 
grove of lofty and magnificent trees. Several 
hunters* immediately started forth in quest of 
game before the noise of the camp should frighten 
it ftom the vicinity. Our man, Beatte, also took 
his rifle and went forth alone, in a difierent course 
icom the rest. 

For my own part, I laid on the grass under 
the trees, and built castles in the clouds, and in- 
dulged in the very luxury of rural repose. In- 
deed I can scarcely conceive a kind of life more 
calculated to put both mind and body in a health- 
ful tone. A morning's ride of several hours 
diversified by hunting incidents ; an encampment 
in the afternoon under some noble grove on the 



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90 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

borders of a stream; an evening banquet of 
venison, fresh killed, roasted, or broiled on the 
coals; turkeys just from the thickets, and wild 
honey from the trees ; and all relished with an 
appetite unknown to the gourmets of the cities. 
And at night — such sweet sleeping in the open 
air, or waking and gazing at the moon and stars, 
shining between the trees ! 

On the present occasion, however, we had not 
much reason to boast of our larder. But one 
deer had been killed during the day, and none of* 
that had reached our lodge. We were fain, there- 
fore, to stay our keen appetites by some scraps 
of turkey brought from the last encampment, 
eked out with a slice or two of salt pork. This 
scarcity, however, did not continue long. Before 
dark, a young hunter returned well laden with 
spoil He had shot a deer, cut it up in an artist- 
like style, and, putting the meat in a kind of sack 
made of the hide, had slung it across his shoulder 
and trudged with it to camp. 

Not long after, Beatte made his appearance 
with a fat doe across his horse. It was the first 
game he had brought in, and I was glad to see 
him with a trophy that might efface the memory 
of the polecat. He laid the carcass down by our 
fire without sajdng a word, and then turned to 
unsaddle his horse ; nor could any questions from 
us about his hunting draw from him more than 
laconic replies. If Beatte, however, observed 
this Indian taciturnity about what he had done, 
Tonish made up for it by boasting of what he 
meant to do. Now that we were in a good hunt* 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES, 91 

ing country, he meant to take the field, and, if 
we would take his word for it, our lodge would 
henceforth be overwhelmed with game. Luckily 
his talking did not prevent his working ; the doe 
was skilfully dissected, several fat ribs roasted 
before the fire, the cofiee-kettle replenished, and 
in a little while we were enabled to indemnify 
ourselves luxuriously for our late meagre repast. 

The Captain did not return until late, and he 
returned empty-handed. He had been in pursuit 
of his usual game, the deer, when he came upon 
the tracks of a gang of about sixty elk. Having 
never killed an animal of the kind, and the elk 
being at this moment an object of ambition among 
aU the veteran hunters of the camp, he abandoned 
his pursuit of the deer, and followed the newly 
discovered track. After some time he came in 
sight of the elk, and had several fair chances of 
a shot, but was anxious to bring down a large 
buck which kept in the advance. Finding at 
length there was danger of the whole gang es- 
caping him, he fired at a doe. The shot took 
efiect, but the animal had sufficient strength to 
keep on for a time with its companions. From 
the tracks of blood he felt confident it was mor- 
tally wounded, but evening coming on, he could 
not keep the trail, and had to give up the search 
until morning. 

Old Ryan and his little band had not yet re- 
joined us, neither had our young half-breed An- 
toine made his appearance. It was determined, 
therefore, to remain at our encampment for the 
following day, to give time for aU stragglers to 
arrive. 

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92 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

The oonversation this evening, among the old 
huntsmen^ tamed upon the Delaware tribe, one 
of whose encampments we had passed in the 
course of the day ; and anecdotes were given of 
their prowess in war and dexterity in hunting. 
They used to be deadly foes of the Osages, who 
stood in great awe of their desperate valor, though 
they were apt to attribute it to a whimsical cause. 
" Look at the Delawares," would they say, *' dey 
got short leg — no can run — must stand and 
fight a great heap." In fact^ the Delawares are 
rather short-legged, while the Osages are remark- 
able for length of limb. 

The expeditions of the Delawares,' whether of 
war or hunting, are wide and fearless ; a small 
band of them will penetrate far into these dan- 
gerous and hostile wilds, and will push their en- 
campments even to the Rocky Mountains. This 
daring temper may be in some measure en- 
couraged by one of the superstitions of their creed. 
They'beUeve that a guardian spirit, in the form 
of a great eagle, watches over them, hovering in 
the sky, far out of sight. Sometimes, when well 
pleased with them, he wheels down into the lower 
regions, and may be seen circling with wide- 
spread wings against the white clouds ; at such 
times the seasons are propitious, the com grows 
finely, and they have great success in hunting. 
Sometimes, however, he is angry, and then he 
vents his rage in the thunder, which is his voice, 
and the lightning, which is the flashing of his eye, 
and strikes dead the object of his displeasure. 

The Delawares make sacrifices to this spirit, 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 93 

w1k> occasionally lets drop a feather from his wing 
in token of satisfaction. These feathers render 
the wearer invisible and invulnerable. Indeed, 
the Indians generallj consider the feathers of the 
eagle possessed of occult and sovereign virtues. 

At one time a party of the Delawares, in the 
course of a bold excursion into the Pawnee hunt- 
ing-grounds, were surrounded on one of the great 
plains, and nearly destroyed. The remnant took 
refuge on the summit of one of those isolated and 
conical hilk which rise almost like artificial mounds, 
from the midst of the prairies. Here the chief 
warrior, driven almost to despair, sacrificed his 
horse to the tutelar spirit. Suddenly an enor- 
mous eagle, rushing down from the sky, bore off 
the victim in his talons, and mounting into the 
air, dropped a quill-feather from his wing. The 
chief caught it up with joy, bound it to his fore- 
head, and, leading his followers down the hill, cut 
his way through the enemy with great slaughter, 
and without any one of his party receiving a 
wound. 




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CHAPTER XV. 



TBI 81AB0H rOB TBI SLX. — PAWmB STOBBS. 




llTH the morning dawn, the prime hanU 
ers of the camp were all on the alert| 
and set off in different directions, to beat 
up the country for game. The Captain's brother. 
Sergeant Bean, was among the first, and returned 
before break^t with success, having killed a &Lt 
doe almost within the purlieus of the camp. 

When breakfast was over, the Captain mounted 
his horse, to go in quest of the elk which he had 
wounded on the preceding evening; and which, 
he was persuaded, had received its death-wound. 
I determined to join him in the search, and we 
accordingly sallied forth together, accompanied 
also by his brother, the sergeant, and a lieutenant. 
Two rangers followed on foot, to bring home the 
carcass of the doe which the sergeant had killed. 
We had not ridden far when we came to where 
it lay, on the side of a hill, in the midst of a 
beautiful woodland scene. The two rangers im- 
mediately fell to work, with true hunters' skill to 
dismember it, and prepare it for transportation to 
the camp, while we continued on our course. 
We passed along sloping hill-sides, among skirts 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 95 

of thicket and scattered forest-trees, until we came 
to a place where the long herbage was pressed 
down with numerous elk-beds. Here the Captain 
had first roused the gang of elks ; and, after look- 
ing about diligently for a little while, he pointed 
out their " trail," the footprints of which were as 
large as those of homed cattle. He now put him- 
self upon the track, and went quietly forward, 
the rest of us following him in Indian file. At 
length he halted at the place where the elk had 
been when shot at. Spots of blood on the sur- 
rounding herbage showed that the shot had been 
effective. The wounded animal had evidently 
kept for some distance with the rest of the herd, 
as could be seen by sprinklings of blood, here and 
there, on the shrubs and weeds bordering the 
traiL These at length suddenly disappeared* 
** Somewhere hereabout,** said the Captain, " the 
elk must have turned off from the gang. When- 
ever they feel themselves mortally wounded, they 
will turn aside and seek some out*of-the-way 
place to die alone." 

There was something in this picture of the last 
moments of a wounded deer to touch the sym- 
pathies of one not hardened to the gentle disports 
of the chase ; such s^rmpathies, however, are but 
transient. Man is naturally an animal of prey ; 
and, however changed by civilization, will readily 
relapse into his instinct for destruction. I found 
my ravenous and sanguinary propensities daily 
growing stronger upon the prairies. 

After looking about for a little while, the Gap* 
tain succeeded in finding the separate trail of i^e 

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M CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

wonnded elk, whidi tamed off almost at right 
angles from that of the herd, and entered an open 
forest of scattered trees. The traces of blood 
became more &int and rare, and occurred at 
greater distances; at length they ceased alto- 
gether, and the groand was so hard, and the 
herbage so much parched and withered, that the 
footprints of the animal could no longer be per- 
ceived. 

^ The elk must lie somewhere in this neighbor* 
hood," said the Captain, ** as you may know by 
those turkey-buzzards wheeling about in the air ; 
for they always hover in that way above some 
carcass^ However, the dead elk cannot get 
away, so let us follow the trail of the living 
ones : they may have halted at no great distance, 
and we may find liiem grazing, and get another 
crad: at them.** 

We accordingly returned, and resumed the 
trail of the elks, which led us a straggling course 
over hill and dale, covered with scattered oaks. 
Every now and then we would catch a glimpse 
of a deer bounding away across some glade pf 
the forest, but the Captain was not to be diverted 
fix>m his elk-hunt by such inferior game. A 
large flock of wild turkeys, too, were roused by 
the trampling oi our horses ; some scampered off 
as fast as their long legs could carry them ; others 
fluttered up into the trees, where they remained 
with outstretched necks, gazing at us. The Cap* 
tain would not allow a rifle to be discharged at 
Hiem, lest it should alarm the elk, which he hoped 
to find In the vicinity. At lengdi we came to 

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A TOITR ON TBE PRAIRtES. 97 

where ^e forest ended in a steep bank, and the 
Bed Fork wound its way below us, between 
broad sandy shores. The trail descended the 
bank, and we could trace it, with our eyes, across 
the level sands, until it terminated in the river, 
which, it was evident, the gang had forded on the 
preceding evening. 

^ It is needless to follow on any further," said 
the Captain. <^The elk must have been muph 
frightened, and, after crossing the river, may have 
kept on for twenty miles without stopping." 

Our little party now divided, the lieutenant and 
sergeant making a circuit in quest of game, and 
the Captain and myself taking the' direction of 
the camp. On our way, we came to a buffalo 
track more than a year old. It was not wider 
than an ordinary footpath, and worn deep into 
the soil ; for these animals follow each other in 
mngle file. Shortly afterwards, we met two 
rangers on foot, hunting. They had wounded an 
d&, but he had escaped ; and in pursuing him, 
had fi>und the one shot by the Captain on the 
preceding evening. They turned back, and con- 
ducted us to it. It was a noble animal, as large 
as a yearling heifer, and lay in an open part of 
the forest, about a mile and a half distant from 
the place where it had been shot. The turkey* 
buzzards wluch we had previoudy noticed were 
wheeling in the ur above it The observation 
of the Captain seemed verified. The poor an- 
imal, as life was ebbing away, had apparently 
abaDdoned its unhurt companions, and turned 
aside to die alone. 



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98 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

The Captain and the two rangers forthwith 
fell to work, with their hunting-knives, to flay 
and cut up the carcass. It was already tainted 
on the inside, but ample coUops were cut from 
the ribs and haunches, and laid in a heap on the 
outstretched hide. Holes were then cut along 
the border of the hide, raw thongs were passed 
through them, and the whole drawn up like a 
sack, which was swung behind the Captain's 
saddle. All this while the turkey-buzzards were 
soaring overhead, waiting for our departure, to 
swoop down and banquet on the carcass. 

The wreck of the poor elk being thus dis- 
mantled, the^ Captain and myself mounted our 
horses, and jogged back to the camp, while the 
two rangers resumed their hunting. 

On reaching the camp, I found there our young 
half-breed, Antoine. After separating from 
Beatte, in the search after the stray horses on 
the other side of the Arkansas, he had &llen 
upon a wrong track, which he followed for 
several miles, when he overtook old Ryan and 
his party, and found he had been following their 
traces. 

They aU forded the Arkansas about eight miles 
above our crossing«place, and found their way to 
our late encampment in the glen, where the rear- 
guard we had left behind was waiting for them. 
Antoine, being well mounted, and somewhat im» 
patient to rejoin us, had pushed on alone, follow 
ing our trail, to our present encampment, and 
bringing the carcass of a young bear which he 
hadkiUed. 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES, 99 

; Oar camp, during the residue of the day, pre- 
sented a mmgled picture of bustle and repose* 
Some of the men were busy round the fires, jerk- 
ing and roasting venison and bear's meat, to be 
packed up as a future supply. Some were stretch- 
ing and dressing the skins of the animals they 
had killed ; others were washing their clothes in 
the brook, and hanging them on the bushes to 
dry ; while many were lying on the grass, and 
lazily gossiping in the shade. Every now and 
then a hunter would return, on horseback or on 
foot, laden with game, or empty-handed. Those 
who brou^t home any spoil, deposited it at the 
Captain's fire, and then filed off to their respec- 
tive messes, to relate their day's exploits to their 
companions. The game killed at this camp con^ 
sisted of six deer, one elk, two bears, and six or 
eight turkeys. 

During the last two or three days, since their 
wild Indian achievement in navigating the river, 
our retainers had risen in consequence among the 
rangers ; and now I found Tonish making himself 
a complete oracle among some of the raw and 
inexperienced recruits, who had never been in 
the wilderness. He had continually a knot hang- 
ing about him, and listening to his extravagant 
tales about the Pawnees, with whom he pretended 
to have had fearful encounters. His representa- 
tions, in &ct, were calculated to inspire his 
liearers with an awful idea of the foe into whose 
lands they were intruding. According to his ac- 
counts, the rifle of the white man was no match 
£or the bow and arrow of the Pawnee. When 



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100 CSATOK MiaCELLANT. 

the rifle was once discharged, it took time aud 
troable to load it again, and in the mean time the 
enemy could keep on launching his shafts as &st 
as he oould draw his bow. Then the Pawnee, 
according to Tonish, could shoot, with unerring 
aim, three hundred yards, and send his arrow 
dean through and through a bufialo ; nay, he had 
known a Pawnee shaft pass through one buffido 
and wound another. And then the way the Paw* 
nees sheltered themselves from the shots of their 
enemy : they would hang with one leg over the 
saddle, crouching their bodies along the opposite 
side of their horse, and would shoot their arrows 
from under his neck, while at full speed ! 

If Tonish was to be believed, there was peril 
at every step in these debatable grounds of the 
Indian tribes. Pawnees lurked unseen among 
Ihe thickets and ravines. They had their scouts 
and sentinels on the summit of the mounds wluch 
command a view over the prairies, where they 
lay crouched in the tall grass; only now and 
then raising their heads to watch the movements 
of any war or hunting party that might be pass* 
Ing in lengthened line below. At night, they 
would lurk round an encampment; crawling 
through the grass, and imitating the movements 
of a wolf, so as to deceive the sentinel on the 
outpost, until, having arrived sufficiently near, 
they would speed an arrow Uirough his heart, 
and retreat undiscovered. In telling his stories, 
Tonish would appeal from time to time to Beatte 
for the truth of what he said-; the only reply 
would be a nod, or shrug of the shoulders ; tlie 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 



101 



latter being divided in mind between a c^taste 
for the gasconading spirit of his comrade, and 
a sovereign contempt for the inexperience of 
the young rangers in all that he considered true 
knowledge. 




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CHAPTER XVI. 




A SICK-CAMP. — THE HA&OH. — THB DISABLED HOBSE. — OLD BTAN AND 
THE ST&AOGLEaS. — STMPTOMS OF OHAMaE OF WEATHEB, AMD OHAHOI 
OF HUMOBS. 

October 18. 
i E prepared to inarch at the usual hour 
but word was brought to the Captain 
that three of the rangers, who had been 
attacked with the measles, were unable to pro- 
ceed, and that another one was missing. The 
last was an old frontiersman, by the name of 
Sawyer, who had gained years without expe- 
rience ; and having sallied forth to hunt, on the 
preceding day, had probably lost his way on the 
prairies. A guard of ten men was, therefore, 
left to take care of the sick, and wait for the 
straggler. If the former recovered sufficiently in 
the course of two or three days, they were to re- 
join the main body, otherwise to be escorted 
back to the garrison. 

Takbg our leave of the sick-camp, we shaped 
our course westward, along the heads of small 
streams, all wandering, in deep ravines, towards 
the Red Fork. The land was high and undulat- 
ing, or " rolling," as it is termed in the West ; 
with a poor hungry soil mingled with the sand- 
stone, which is unusual in this part of the coao- 



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A TOVR ON THE PRAIRIES. lOi 

try, and checkered with harsh forests of post-oak 
and black-jack. 

In the course of the morning I received a 
lesson on the importance of being chary of one's 
steed on the prairies. The one I rode surpassed 
in action most horses of the troop, and was of 
great mettle and a generous spirit In crossing 
the deep ravines, he would scramble up the steep 
banks like a cat, and was always for leaping the 
narrow runs of water. I was not aware of the 
imprudence of indulging him in such exertions, 
imtil, in leaping him across a small brook, I felt 
him immediately falter beneath me. He limped 
forward a short distance, but soon fell stark lame, 
having sprained his shoulder. What was to be 
done? He could not keep up with the troop, 
and was too valuable to be abandoned on the 
prairie. The only alternative was to send him 
back to join the inviQids in the sick-camp, and to 
share their fortunes. Nobody, however, seemed 
disposed to lead him back, although I offered a 
liberal reward. Either the stories of Tonish 
about the Pawnees had spread an apprehension 
of lurking foes and imminent perils on the prai- 
ries, or there was a fetur of missing the trail and 
getting lost. At length two young men stepped 
forward and agreed to go in company, so that, 
should they be benighted on the prairies, there 
might be one to watch while the other slept. 

Tlie horse was accordingly consigned to their 
care, and I looked a^r him with a rueful eye, as 
he limped o£^ for it seemed as if, with him, all 
strength and baoyan<y had departed from me. 



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104 CBATON MISCELLANY. 

I looked round foF a steed to supply his place, 
and fixed my eyes upon the gallant gray which I 
had transferred at Uie Agency to Tonish. The 
moment, however, that I hinted about his dis> 
mounting and taking up with the supernumerary 
pony, the little varlet broke out into vociferous 
remonstrances and lamentations, gasping and al- 
most strangling, in his eagerness to give vent to 
them. I saw that to unhorse him would be to 
prostrate his spirit and cut his vanity to the 
quick. I had not the heart to inflict such a 
wound, or to bring down the poor devil from his 
transient vainglory ; so I left him in possession 
of his gallant gray, and contented myself with 
shifting my saddle to the jaded pony. 

I was now sensible of the complete reverse to 
which a horseman is exposed on the prairies. I 
felt how completely the spirit of the rider depend- 
ed upon his steed. I had hitherto been able to 
make excursions at will from the line, and to 
gallop in pursuit of any object of interest or 
curiosity. I was now reduced to the tone of the 
jaded animal I bestrode, and doomed to plod on 
patiently and slowly after my file-leader. Above 
all, I was made conscious how unwise it is, on 
expeditions of the kind, where a man's life may 
depend upon the strength and speed and fi^esh- 
ness of his horse, to task the generous animal by 
any unnecessary exertion of his powers. 

I have observed that the wary and experienced 
huntsman and traveller of the prairies is always 
pparing of his horse, when on a journey ; never, 
except 19 emei^gency, putting him off of a walk. 



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A TOUB QN TEE PBAIBIES, X05 

The regular, joumejings g£ frontiersnieu and 
Indians, when on a long march, seldom exceed 
above fifteen miles a day, and are generally about 
ten or twelve, and they never indulge in capri- 
doos gaUopingt Many of those, however, with 
whom I was travelling were young and inexpe- 
rienced, and full of excitement at finding them- 
selves in a country abounding with game. It 
was impossible to retain -them in the sobriety of 
a march, or to keep them to the line. As we 
broke our way through the coverts and ravines, 
and the deer started up and scampered off to the 
right and left, the rifie-balls would whiz after 
them, and our young hunters dash off in pursuit. 
At one time they made a grand burst after what 
they supposed to be a gang of bears, but soon 
pulled up on discovering them to be black wolves, 
prowling in company. 

After a march of about twelve miles we en^ 
camped, a little after mid-day, on the borders of 
a brook which loitered through a deep ravine^ 
In the course of the afternoon old Ryan, the 
Nestor of the camp, made his appearance, fol* 
lowed by his little band of stragglers. He was 
greeted with joyftd acclamations, which showed 
the estimation in which he was held by his 
brother woodmen. The little band came laden 
with venison; a fine haunch of which the vet- 
eran hunter laid, as a present, by the Captain's 
fire. 

Our men, Beatte and Tonish, both sallied forth, 
early in the aft;emoon, to hunt. Towards even- 
ing the former returned, with a fine buck across 



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106 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

his horse. He laid it down, as usual, in silence^ 
and proceeded to unsaddle and turn his horse 
loose. . Tonish came back without any game, but 
with much more glory, — having made several 
capital shots, though unluckily the wounded deer 
had all escaped him. 

There was an abundant supply of meat in the 
camp ; for besides other game, three elk had 
been killed. The wary and veteran woodmen 
were all busy jerking meat, against a time of 
scarcity ; the less experienced revelled in present 
abundance, leaving the morrow to provide for 
itself. 

On the following morning, (Oct 19,) I suo 
ceeded in changing my pony and a reasonable 
sum of money for a strong and active horse. It 
was a great satisfaction to find myself once more 
tolerably well mounted. I perceived, however, 
that there would be little difficulty in making a 
selection fix>m among the troop, for the rangers 
had all that propensity for "swapping," or, as 
they term it, "trading," which pervades the 
West In the course of our expedition there 
was scarce a horse, rifle, powder-horn, or blanket, 
that did not change owners several times ; and 
one keen " trader " boasted of having by dint of 
frequent bargains changed a bad horse into a 
good one, and put a hundred dollars in his 
pocket 

The morning was lowering and sultry, with 
low muttering of distant thunder. The change 
of weather had its effect upon the spirits of the 
troop. The camp was unusually sober and quiet ; 



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A TOUR ON THE PBAIBIE8. 107 

• 
there was none of the aocustomed farm-yard 
melody of crowing and cackling at daybreak; 
none of the bursts of merriment, the loud jokes 
and bantenngs, that had commonly prevailed 
during the bustle of equipment. Now and then 
might be heard a short strain of a song, a fidnt 
langh, or a solitary whistle ; but, in general, 
every one went silently and doggedly about the 
duties of the camp, or the preparations for de- 
parture. 

When the time arrived to saddle and mount, 
B^e horses were reported as missing; although 
all the woods and ^ckets had been beaten up 
for some distance round the camp. Several 
rangers were dispatched to ^^ skir " the country 
round in quest of them. In the mean time, the 
thunder continued to growl, and we had a pass- 
ing shower. The horses, like their riders, were 
affected by the change of weather. They stood 
here and there about the camp, some saddled and 
bridled, others loose, but all spiritless and dozing, 
with stooping head, one hind leg partly drawn up 
so as to rest on the point of the hoof, and the 
whole hide reeking with the rain, and sending up 
wreaths of vapor. The men, too, waited in list- 
less groups the return of their comrades who had 
gone in quest of the horses ; now and then turn- 
ing up an anxious eye to the driving clouds, 
which boded an approaching storm. Gloomy 
weather inspires gloomy thoughts. Some ex- 
pi-ossed fears that we were dogged by some party 
of Indians, who had stolen the horses in the 
night The most prevalent apprehension, how- 



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108 CRAtON MiaCELLAIfY. 

• 

ever, was, that they had returned on their traces 
to our last encampment, or had started off on a 
direct line for Fort Gibson. In this respect, the 
instinct of horses is said to resemble that of the 
pigeon. They will strike for home by a direct 
course, passing through tracts of wilderness which 
they have never before traversed. 

After delaying until the morning was some- 
what advanced, a lieutenant with a guard was 
appointed to await the return of the rangers, and 
we set off on our day's journey, considerably re- 
duced in numbers ; much, as I thought, to the 
discomposure of some <^ the troop, who inti« 
mated that we might prove too weak-handed in 
case of an encounter with the Pawnees. 




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CHAPTER XVn. 



soBfi. — nroxAn stobbs.— a vbiohtbhsd hobsi. 

|n& march for a part of the day lay a lit- 
tle to the south of west, through strag- 
gling forests of the kind of low, scrubbdl 
trees already mentioned, called ^ post-oaks," and 
" black-jacks." TTie soil of these " oak barrens " 
is loose and unsound ; being little better at times 
than a mere quicksand, in which, in rainy weather, 
the horse's hoof slips from side to side, and now 
and then sinks in a rotten, spongy turf, to the fet- 
lock. Such was the case at present in consequence 
of successive thunder-showers, through which we 
draggled along in dogged silence. Several deer 
were roused by our approach, and scudded across 
the forest-glades ; but no one, as formerly, broke 
the line of march to pursue them. At one time 
we passed the bones and horns of a buffalo, and 
at another time a buffalo track not above three 
days old. These signs of the vicinity of this 
grand game of the pr^es had a reviving effect 
on the spirits of our huntsmen ; but it was of 
transient duration. 

In crossii^ a prairie of moderate extent, ren« 
deiBd little better than a slippery bog by the re- 



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110 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

cont showers, we were overtaken by a violent 
thunder-gnst. The rain came rattling upon us in 
torrents, and spattered up like steam along the 
ground; the whole landscape was suddenly 
wrapped in gloom that gave a vivid effect to the 
intense sheets of lightning, while the thunder 
seemed to burst over our very heads, and was re- 
verberated by the groves and forests that check- 
ered and skirted the prairie. Man and beast 
were so pelted, drenched, and confounded, that 
the line was thrown in complete confusion; — 
some of the horses were so frightened as to be al- 
most unmanageable, and our scattered cavalcade 
looked like a tempest-tossed fleet, driving hither 
and thither, at the mercy of wind and wave. 

At length, at half past two o'clock, we came to 
a halt, and gathering together our forces, en- 
camped in an open and lofty grove, with a prairie 
on one side and a stream on the other. The 
forest immediately rang with the sound of the axe 
and the crash of &lling trees. Huge fires were 
soon blazing; blankets were stretched before 
them, by way of tents ; booths were hastily 
reared of bark and skins ; every fire had its group 
drawn dose roimd it, drying and warming them- 
selves, or preparing a comforting meal. Some 
of the rangers were discharging and cleaning 
their rifles, which had been exposed to the rain ; 
while the horses, relieved from their saddles and 
burdens, rolled in the wet grass. 

The showers continued from time to time, un- 
til late in the evening. Before dark, our horses 
were gathered in and tethered about the skirts 



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A TOUE ON THE PRAJBIEB. Ill 

of the oamp, witfaia the oittpoets, through fear of 
Indian prowlers, who are apt to take advantage 
of stormy nights for their de{H'edations and as- 
saults. As the ni^t thickened, the huge finss 
became m(H*e and more luminous ; lighting up 
masses of the over-hanging foliage, and leaving 
other parts of the grove in deep gloom. Every 
fire had its goblin group around it, while iSxd 
tethered h^ses were .dimly seen, like spectres, 
among the thidcets ; excepting that here azid there 
a gray cme stood out in bright relief 

The grove, thus fitfully lighted up by the 
ruddy glare of the fires, resembled a vast leafy 
dome, walled in by opaque darkness ; but every 
now and then two or three quivering flashes of 
jyightoing in quick succession would suddenly 
reveal a vast champaign country, where fields 
and forests, and running streams, would start, as 
it were, into existence for a few brief seconds, and, 
before the eye could aacertain them, vanish agsun 
into gloom. 

A thunder-storm on a prairie, as upon the 
ocean, derives grandeur and sublimity from the 
wild and boundless waste over whidi it rages and 
bellows. It is not surprising tiiat these awM 
phencHnena of nature should be objects oi super- 
stitious reverence to the poor savages, and that 
they should consider the thunder the angry voice 
of the Great Spirit. As our half-breeds sat gos- 
aiping round the fire, I drew from them S(»iie of 
the notions entertained on the subject by their 
Indian friends. The latter declare that extin* 
guished thunderbolts are sometimes pidi^ed.iip by 
8 

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112 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

liuDters on the prairies, who use them for the 
heads of arrows and lances, and that anj warrior 
thus armed is invincible. Should a thunder- 
storm occur^ however, during battle, he is liable 
to be carried away by the thunder, and never 
heard of more. 

A warrior of the Konza tribe, hunting on a 
prairie, was overtaken by a storm, and struck 
down senseless by the thunder. On recovering, he 
beheld the thunderbolt lying on the ground, and 
a horse standing beside it. Snatching up the 
bolt, he sprang upon the horse, but found, too 
late, that he was astride of the lightning. In an 
instant he was whisked away over prairies and 
forests, and streams and deserts, until he was 
flung senseless at the foot of the Bocky Moun- 
tfdns ; whence, on recovering, it took him several 
months to return to his own people. 

This story reminded me of an Indian tradidoa 
related by a traveller, of the fate of a warrior 
who saw the thunder lying upon the ground, with 
a beautifully wrought moccason on each side of 
it Thinking he had found a prize, he put on the 
moccasons ; but they bore him away to the land 
of spirits, whence he never returned. 

lliese are simple and artless tales, but they 
had a wild and romantic interest heard from the 
lips of half savage narrators, round a hunter^s fire, 
in a stormy night, with a forest on one side and 
a howling waste on the other ; and where, perad* 
Tenture, savage foes might be lurking in the outer 
darimess. 

Oar oonvenation was interrupted by a loud 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 118 

dap of thnnder, followed immediately by the 
Bound of a horse galloping off madly into the 
waste. Every one listened in mute silence. The 
hoo& resounded vigorously for a time, but grew 
feinter and fainter, until they died away in re- 
mote distance. 

When the sound was no longer to be heard, 
the listeners turned to conjecture what could have 
caused this sudden scamper. Some thought the 
horse had been startled by the thunder ; others, 
that some lurking Indian had gaUoped off with 
him. To this it was objected, that the usual 
mode with the Indians is to steal quietly upon 
the horse, take off his fetters, moimt him gently, 
and walk him off as silently as possible, leading 
off others, without any unusual stir or noise to 
disturb the camp. 

On the other hand, it was stated as a common 
practice with the Indians, to creep among a troop 
of horses when grazing at night, mount one 
quietly, and then start off suddenly at full speed. 
Nothing is so contagious among horses as a 
panic ; one sudden break-away of this kind will 
sometimes alarm the whole troop, and they will 
set off, helter-skelter, after the leader.. 

Every one who had a horse grazing on the 
skirts of the camp was uneasy lest his should be 
the fugitive; but it was impossible to ascertain 
the fiict until morning. Those who had tethered 
their horses felt more secure ; though horses thus 
tied up, and limited to a short range at night, 
are apt to &11 off in flesh and strength, during a 



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114 CRAYON MISCSLLAHT. 

long march ; and many of the horses of the troop 
alreadj gave signs of being wajwom. 

After a gloomj and anraly night, the morning 
dawned bright and dear, and a glorious sanrise 
transformed the whole landscape, as if by magic 
The late dreary wilderness brightened into a fine 
open oonntry, with stately groves, and clumps of 
oaks of a gigantic size, some of which stood sin- 
gly, as if planted for ornament and shade, in the 
midst of ridi meadows ; while our horses, scat" 
tered about, and grazing under them, gave to the 
whole the air of a noble park. It was difficult to 
realize the fikct that we were so far in the wilds 
beyond the residence of man. Our encampment 
alone had a savage appearance, with its rude 
tents of skins and blankets, and its columns of 
blue smoke rising among the trees. 

The first care in the morning was to look after 
our horses. Some of them had wandered to a 
distance, but all were fortunately found, — even 
the one whose clattering hoofs had caused such 
uneasiness in the night. He had come to a halt 
about a mile from the camp, and was found quietly 
grazing near a brook. The bugle sounded for 
departure about half past eight As we were in 
greater risk of Indian molestation the forther we 
advanced, our line was formed with more pred- 
Bum than heretofore. Every one had his station 
assigned him, and was forbidden to leave it m 
pursuit of game mthout special permission. The 
pack-horses were placed in the centre of the line, 
and a strong guard in the rear. 



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CHAPTER XVlll. 

& OUID rmADta. -^ OUrr 0A8TLB. -- BUIVALO TBAOKS. •-- rant HUIRD 
BT W0LTX8..— 0B0S8 CDIBZE. 

|FTER a toilsome march of some dis- 
tance through a comitry cut up by ra- 
vines and brooks, and entangled by 
thickets, we emerged upon a grand prairie. Here 
one of the characteristic scenes of the Far West 
broke upon us. An immense extent of grassy, 
undulating, or, as it is termed, rolling country, 
with here and there a clump of trees dimly seen 
in the distance like a ship at sea ; the landscape 
deriving sublimity from its vastness and simplic- 
ity. To the southwest, on the summit of a hill, 
was a singular crest of broken rocks, resembling 
a ruined fortress. It reminded me of the ruin 
of some Moorish castle, crowning a height in the 
midst of a lonely Spanish landscape. To this hiU 
we gave the name of Cliff Castle. 

The prairies of these great hunting regions 
differed in the character of their vegetation from 
those through which I had hitherto passed. In- 
stead of a profusion of tall flowering plants and 
long flauntiz^ grasses, they were covered with a 
shorter growth of herbage called buffalo-grass, 
somewhat coarse, but, at the proper seasons, af- 



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116 CRA TON MISCELLANY. 

fording excellent and abundant pasturage. At 
present it was growing wiry, and in many places 
was too much parched for grazing. 

The weather was verging into that serene but 
somewhat arid season called the Indian Summer. 
There was a smoky haze in the atmosphere that 
tempered the brightness of the sunshine into a 
golden tint, softening the features of the land* 
scape, and giving a vagueness to the outlines of 
distant objects. This haziness was daily increas- 
ing, and was attributed to the burning of distant 
prairies by the Indian hunting parties. 

We had not gone far upon the prairie before 
we came to where deeply worn footpaths were 
seen traversing the country; sometimes two or 
three would keep on parallel to each other, and 
but a few paces apart These were pronounced 
to be traces of buffaloes, where large droves 
had passed. There were tracks also of horses, 
which were observed with some attention by our 
experienced hunters. They could not be the 
tracks of wild horses, as there were no prints of 
the hoofs of colts ; all were full-grown. As the 
horses evidently were not shod, it was concluded 
they must belong to some hunting party of Paw- 
nees. In the course of the morning, the tracks 
of a single horse, with shoes, were discovered. 
This might be the horse of a Cherokee hunter, 
or perhaps a horse stolen &om the whites of 
the frontier. Thus, in traversing these perilous 
wastes, every footprint and dint of hoof becomes 
matter of cautious inspection and shrewd sur- 
mise ; and the question continually is, whether it 



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JL TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 117 

be the trace of friend or foe, whether of recent 
or ancient date, and whether the being that made 
it be out of reach, or liable to be encountered. 

We were getting more and more into the game 
conntry: as we proceeded, we repeatedly saw 
deer to the right and left, bounding off for the 
coverts ; but their appearance no longer excited 
the same eagerness to pursue. In passing along 
a slope of the prairie, between two rolling swells 
of land, we came in sight of a genuine natural 
hunting match. A pack of seven black wolves 
and one white one were in full chase of a buck, 
which they had nearly tired down. They crossed 
the line of our march without apparently per- 
ceiving us; we saw them have a fair run of 
nearly a mile, gaining upon the buck until they 
were leaping upon his haunches, when he plunged 
down a ravine. Some of our party galloped to 
a rising ground commanding a view of the ravine. 
The poor buck was completely beset, some on his 
flanks, some at his throat : he made two or three 
struggles and desperate bounds, but was dragged 
down, overpowered, and torn to pieces. The 
black wolves, in their ravenous hunger and fory, 
took no notice of the distant group of horsemen ; 
but the white wolf, apparently less game, aban* 
doned the prey, and scampered over hill and dale, 
rousing various deer that were crouched in the 
hollows, and which bounded off likewise in differ- 
ent directions. It was altogether a wild scene, 
worthy of the " hunting grounds." 

We now came once more in sight of the Red 
F(^k, winding its turbid course between well*: 

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118 OMAYOlf MIBCSLLANT. 

wooded hills, and thnmgh a Tast and magmfieent 
landscape. The prairies bordering on the rivers 
are always varied in this way with woodUmd, so 
beautilblly interspersed as to appear to have been 
laid oni bj the hand of taste; and they onlj 
want here and there a village spire, the battle- 
ments of a castle, or t^ turrets of an old family 
mansion rising from among the trees, to rival the 
most ornamented soenery of Europe. 

About mid-day we reached the edge of that 
scattered belt of forest land, about forty miles in 
width, which stretches across the country from 
nordi to south, from the Arkansas to die Bed 
l^er, separatii^ the upper from the lower prai- 
ries, and commonly caJled the << Cross Timber.** 
On the skirts of this forest land, just on the ^ge 
of a prairie, we found traces of a Pawnee en- 
eampment of between one and two hundred 
lodges, showing that the party must have been 
numerous. The skull of a bufialo lay near the 
camp, and the moss which had gathered on it 
proved that the encampment was at least a year 
^. About half a mile off we encamped in a 
beautiful grove, watered by a fine spring and 
rivnlet Our dia/s journey had been about four- 
teen miles. 

In the course of the afternoon we were re* 
joined by two of Lieutenant King's party, which 
we had left behind a few days before, to look 
after stray horses. All the horses had be^i 
found, though some had wandered to the distance 
of several miles. The lieutenant, with seven- 
teen of lus companions, had remained at our ^^ 



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A TOUR ON TEE PRAIRIES. 119 

n^hfs encampment to hunt, having come upon 
recent traces of buffalo. They had also seen a 
fine wild horse, which, however, bad galloped off 
with a speed that defied pursuit. 

Confident anticipations were now indulged 
that on the following day we should meet with 
buffalo, and perhaps with wild horses, and every 
one was in spirits. We needed some excitement 
of the kind, for our young men were growing 
weary of marching and encamping under restraint, 
and provisions this day were scanty. The Gap« 
tain and several of the rangers went out hunt- 
ing, but brought home nothing but a small deer 
and a few turkeys. Our two men, Beatte and 
Tonish, likewise went out The former returned 
with a deer athwart his horse, which, as usual, 
he laid down by our lodge, and said nothing. 
Tonish returned with no game, but with his cus-> 
tomary budget of wonderM tales. Both he and 
the deer had done marvels. Not one had come 
within the lure of his rifle without being hit in a 
mortal part, yet, strange to say, every one had 
kept on his way without flinching. We all 
determined that, from the accuracy of his aim, 
Tonish must have shot with charmed balls, but 
that every deer had a charmed life. The most 
important intelligence brought by him, however, 
was, that he bad seen the firesh tracks of sc^^nU 
wild bors^ He now considered himself upon 
the eve of great exploits, for there was nothing 
apon which he glorified himself more than hit 
skill in horse-etching. 



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CHAPTER XCL 




HUHTIBS' AHTI0IPAXION8.— THB RVQaXD FOBD.— A WILD H0B81. 

October 8L 
IJHIS morning the camp was in a bustle 
at an early hour: the expectation of 
falling in with buffalo in the course 
day roused every one's spirit There 
contmual crackii]^ of rifles, that thej 
be reloaded: the shot was drawn off 
from double-barrelled guns, and balls were substi- 
tuted. Tonish, however, prepared chiefly for a 
campaign against wild horses. He took the field, 
with a coil of cordage hung at his saddle-bow, 
and a couple of white wands, something like 
fishing-rods, eight or ten feet in length, with 
forked ends. The coil of cordage thus used in 
hunting the wild horse is called a lariat, and an- 
swers to the lasso of South America. It is not 
flung, however, in the graceful and dexterous 
Spanish style. The hunter, aHer a hard chase, 
when he succeeds in getting almost head and 
head with the wild horse, hitches the running 
noose of the lariat over his head by means of the 
forked stick ; then letting him have the full length 
of the cord, plays him like a fish, and chokes him 
into subjection. 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIEB. 181 

All this Tonish promised to exemplify to our 
full satis&ction ; we had not much confidence in 
his sncoesSy and feared he might knock up a good 
horse in a headlong gallop after a bad one ; for^ 
like all the French Creoles, he was a merciless 
hard rider* It was determined, therefore, to keep 
a sharp eye upon him, and to check his sallying 
propensities. 

We had not proceeded far on our mommg's 
march, when we were checked by a deep stream, 
running along the bottom of a thickly wooded ra- 
Tine. After coasting it for a couple of miles, we 
came to a fording-place ; but to get down to it 
was the difficulty, for the banks were steep and 
crumbling, and overgrown with forest-trees, min* 
gled with thickets, brambles, and grape-vines. At 
length the leading horseman broke his way through 
the thicket, and his horse, putting his feet together, 
slid down the black crumbling bank, to the narrow 
margin of the stream; then floundering across, 
with mud and water up to the saddle-girths, lie 
scrambled up the opposite bank, and arrived 
safe on level ground. The whole line followed 
pell-mell after the leader, and pushing forward in 
dose order, Indian file, they crowded each other 
down the bank and into the stream. Some of 
the horsemen missed the ford, and were soused 
over head and ears ; one was unhorsed, and 
plumped head foremost into the middle of the 
stream : for ray own part, while pressed forward, 
and hurried over the bank by those beliind me, I 
was interrupted by a grape-vine, as thick as a 
cable, which hung in a festoon as low as the sad- 



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ta CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

^e4)0W, and, dragging me from the saddle, threw 
me among the^feet of the tramplmg horses. Foiv 
tnnately, I escaped without injury, regained my 
steed, crossed the stream without further difficultji 
and was enabled to join in the merriment occa- 
sioned bj the ludicrous disasters of the fording. 

It is at passes like this that occur the most dan- 
gerous ambuscades and sanguinary surprises of 
Indian warfare. A party of savages, well placed 
among the thickets, might have made sad havoc 
among our men, while entangled in the ravine. 

We now came out upon a vast and glorious 
prairie, spreading out beneath the gtdden beams 
of an autumnal sun. The deep and frequent 
traces of buffalo showed it to be one of their 
fi9tvorite grazing groimds ; yet none were to be 
seen. In the course of the morning we were 
overtaken by. the lieutenant and seventeen men, 
who had remained behind, and who came laden 
with the spoils of bufi&loes ; having killed three 
on the preceding day. One of the rangers, how- 
ever, had little luck to boast of, his horse hav- 
ing taken fright at sight of Ihe buffaloes, thrown 
his rider, and escaped into the woods. 

The excitement of our hunters, both young and 
old, now rose almost to fever-height, scarce any 
of them having ever encountered any of this far- 
fiuned game of the prairies. Aceordii^ly, when 
in the course of the day the cry of buffalo I 
buffalo I rose from one part of the line, the whole 
ttooup were thrown in agitation. We were just 
then passing through a beautiful part of the prai- 
rk, finely diversified by hills and slopes, and 



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A TOUR ON TSE PRAIRIES. W8 

woody dells, and high, stately groTes. Those who 
had given the alarm pointed out a large black- 
looking animal, slowly moving along the side of 
a rising ground, about two miles off. The ever- 
ready Tonish jumped up, and stood with his feet 
cm the saddle, and his forked sticks in his hands, 
like a posture-master or scaramouch at a circus, 
just ready for a feat of horsemanship. After 
gazing at the animal for a moment, which he 
could liave seen full as well without rising from 
his stirrups, he pronounced it a wild horse ; and 
dropping again into his saddle, was about to dash 
off full tilt in pursuit, when, to his inexpressible 
diagrin, he was called back, and ordered to keep 
to his post, in rear of the baggage horses. 

The Captain and two of his officers now set 
off to reconnoitre the game. It was the intention 
of the Captain, who was an admirable marksman, 
to endeavor to crease the horse, that is to say, 
to hit him with a rifle-ball in the ridge of the 
neck. A wound of this kind paralyzes a horse 
fi>r a momei|t ; he &l11s to the ground, and may 
be secured before he recovers. It is a cruel es^- 
pedient, however, for an ill-directed shot may 
kill or maim the noble animaL 

As the Captain and his companions moved off 
laterally and slowly in the direction of the horse, 
we continued our course forward ; watching in- 
tently, however, the movements of the game. 
The horse moved quietly over the profile of the 
rising ground, and disappeared behind it. The 
Qytain and his party were likewise soon hidden 
by an intervening hilL 



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124 CRATOir MISCELLANT. 

After a time, the horse suddenly made his 
iq)pearance to our right, just ahead of the liDe, 
emerging (^t of a small valley, on a brisk trot ; 
having evidently taken the alarm. At sight of 
us, he stopped short, gazed at us for an instant 
with surprise, then tossing up his head, trotted 
off in fine style, glancing at us first over one 
shoulder, then over the other, his ample mane and 
tail streaming in the wind. Having dashed 
through a skirt of thicket, that looked like a 
hedge-row, he paused in the open field beyond, 
glanced back at us again, with a beautiful bend 
of the neck, snuffed the air, and then tossing his 
head again, broke into a gallop, and took r^uge 
in a wood. 

It was the first time I had ever seen a horse 
scouring his native wilderness in all the pride and 
freedom of his nature. How different from the 
poor, mutilated, harnessed, checked, reined-up 
victim of luxury, caprice, and avarice, in our 
cities! 

After travelling about fifteen miles, we en* 
camped about one o'clock, that our hunters might 
have time to procure a supply of provisions. Our 
encampment was in a spacious grove of lofly 
oaks and walnuts, free fix)m underwood, on the 
border of a brook. While unloading the pack* 
horses, our little Frenchman was loud in his com- 
plaints at having been prevented from pursuing 
the wild horse, which he would certainly have 
taken. In the mean time, I saw our half-breed, 
Beatte, quietly saddle his best horse, a powerful 
steed of a half-savage race, hang a lariat at the 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 



126 



saddle-bow, take a rifle and forked stick in hand, 
and, mounting, depart from the camp without 
saying a word. It was evident he was going off 
in quest of the wild horse, but was disposed to 
bunt alone. 




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CHAPTER XX. 

THE OAMP OV THE WILD HORSB. 

EUimBBS 8T0BXXS.— HABITS OF THB ^HLD H0S8I.— IHB HAUF-BBOD 
ANA HIS PBIZI. —A H0B8B-CHASB. —A WILD SPIBIT XAIOD. 

IE had encamped in a good neighborhood 
for game, as the reports of rifles in va- 
rious directions speedily gave notice. 
One of our hunters soon returned with the meat 
of a doe, tied up in the skin, and slung across 
his shoulders. Another brought a fat buck across 
his horse. Two other deer were brought in, and 
a number of turkeys. All the game was thrown 
down in front of the Captain^s fire, to be portioned 
out among the various messes. The spits and 
camp - kettles were soon in full employ, and 
throughout the evening there was a scene of 
hunters' feasting and profusion. 

We had been disappointed this day in our 
hopes of meeting with buffalo, but the sight of 
the wild horse had been a great novelty, and 
gave a turn to the conversation of the camp for 
the evening. There were several anecdotes told 
of a famous gray horse, which has ranged the 
prairies of this neighborhood for six or seven 
years, setting at naught every attempt of the 



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A . TOTJE ON THE PMAIBJUS. ^ 

Jmnters to capture hii^. They say he csax pao^ 
and rack (or amble) faster than the fleetest horsey 
4»n run. Equally marvellous accounts were 
given of a black horse on the Brasses, who grazed 
the prairies on that river's banks in the Texas. 
For years he outstripped all pursuit. His fame 
spread far and wide; offers were made for him 
to the amount of a thousand dqllars ; the boldest 
and most hard-riding hunters tried incessantly to 
make prize of him, but in vain. At length he 
&11 a victim to his gallantry, being decoyed un- 
der a tree by a tame mare, and a noose dropped 
over his head by a boy perched among the 
branches. . ; 

The capture of the wild h(»^e is one of thq 
most &vorite achievements of the prairie tribes; 
and, indeed, it is from this source that the In- 
dian hunters chiefly supply themselves. The 
wild horses -which range those vast grassy plains, 
extending from the Arkansas to the Spanish set- 
tlements, are of various forms and colors, betray- 
ing their various descents. Some resemble the 
common English stock, and are probably descended 
from horses which have escaped frx)m our border 
settlements. Others are of a low but strong 
make, and are supposed to be of- the Andalusian 
breed, brought out by the Spanish discoverers. 

Some fai^ciful speculatists have seen in them 
descendants of the Arab stock, brought into Spain 
from Africa, and thence transferred to this couur 
try; and have pleased themselves with the idea 
that their sires may have been of the pur^ 
coursers of the desert^ that once bore Mahqmel 
9 



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126 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

and his warlike disciples across the sandy plains 
c^ Arabia. 

The habits of the Arab seem to hare come 
with the steed. The introduction of the horse on 
the boundless prairies of the Far West changed 
the whole mode of living of their inhabitants. It 
gave them that ^ilitj of rapid moti<Mi, and of 
sudden and distant change of place, so dear to 
the roving propensities of man. Instead of lurk* 
ing in the depths of gloomy forests, and patiently 
threading the mazes of a tangled wilderness on 
foot, like his brethren of the north, the Indian of 
the West is'% rover of the plain ; he leads a 
brighter and more sunshiny life ; almost always 
on horseback, on vast flowery prairies and under 
cloudless skies. 

I was lying by the Captain's fire, late in the 
evening, listening to stories about those oours^v 
of the prairies, and weaving speculations of my 
own, when there was a elMmnr <^ voices and a 
loud cheering at the other end of the camp ; and 
word was passed that Beatte, the half-breed, had 
brought in a wild horse. 

In an instant every fire was deserted; the 
whole camp crowded to see the Indian and his 
prise. It was a colt about two years old, wefl 
grown, finely limbed, with bright prcnninent eyes, 
and a spirited yet gentle demeanor. He gazed 
about him with an air of mingled stupefisMStion 
and surprise, at the men, the luHrses, and the 
eamp-fires; while the Indian stood before him 
with fidded arms, having hold of Uie other end 
of the cord whidi noosed his captive, and gasing 



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A TOVB ON THE PRAIRIES. Itf 

fxi liim with a most imperturbable aspect Bestfte, 
as I have before observed, has a greenish olive 
complexioD, with a strongly -marked coontenance, 
not tmlike the bronze casts of Napoleon ; and as 
he stood before his captive horse, with folded 
arms and fixed «^>ect, he looked more like a 
statue than a man. 

If the horse, however, manifested the least 
restiveness, Beatte would immediately worry 
him with the lariat, jerkii^ him first on one side, 
then on the other, so as almost to throw him on 
the ground; when he had thus^ndered him 
passive, he would resume his statK-like attitude, 
and garo at him in silence. 

The whole scene was singularly wild : the tall 
grove, partially illumined by the flashing fires of 
the camp, the horses tethered here and there 
among tlie trees, the carcasses of deer hanging 
around, and, in the midst of all, the wild hunts- 
man and his wild horse, with an admiring throng 
of rangers ahnost as wild. 

In the eagerness of tiieir excitement, several 
of the young rangers sought to get the horse by 
purdiase or barter, and even offered extravagant 
terms; but Beatte declined all their offers. 
** You give great price now," said he ; " to-mor- 
row you be sorry, and take back, and say d — d 
Indian!" 

The young men importuned him with questions 
about the mode in which he took the horse, but 
his answers ware dry and laconic ; he evidently 
retained some pique at having been undervalued 
and sneered at by them ; and at the same timie 



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180 CRAYON MISGELLANX. \ 

looked down upon them with contempt as g'reent 
horns little versed in the noble science of woodr 
crafl. 

Afterwards, however, when he was seated by 
our fire, I readilj drew from him an account of 
his exploit ; for, though taciturn among strangers, 
and little prone to boast of his actions, yet his 
lacitumity, like that of all Indians, had its times 
of relaxation. 

He informed me, that on leaving the camp h0 
had returned to the place where we had lost sighv 
of the wild h^*se. Soon getting upon its traxsk^ 
he followed it%> the banks of the river. Here^ 
the prints being more distinct in the sand, he 
perceived that one of the hoo& was broken and 
defective, so he gave up the pursuit. 

As he was returning to the camp, he came 
upon a gang of six horses, which immediately 
made for the river. He pursued them across the 
stream, left his rifie on the river-bank, and put- 
ting his horse to full speed, soon came up with 
the fugitives. He attempted to noose one of 
them, but the lariat hitched on one of his eara^ 
and he shook it off. The horses dashed up a hill, 
he followed hard at their heels, when^ of a sudden, 
he saw their tails whisking in the air, and they 
plunging down a precipice. It was too late to 
stop. He shut his eyes, held in his breath, and 
went over with them — neck or nothing. The 
descent was between twenty and thirty feet, but 
they all came down safe upon a sandy bottom. 

He now succeeded in throwing his noose round 
a fine young horse. As he galloped alongside of 



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A T013H ON THE PRAIRIES. iW 

Idm, the two horses passed each side of a sapling/ 
and the end of the lariat was jerked out of his 
hund. He regained it, but an intervening tree 
obliged him again to let it go. Having once 
more caught it, and coming to a more open coun- 
try, he was enabled to play the young horse with 
the line until he gradually checked and subdued 
him, so as to lead him to the place where he had 
left his rifle. 

He had another formidable difficulty in getting 
him across the river, where both horses stuck for 
a time in the mire, and Beatte was nearly un- 
seated from his saddle by the force of the current 
and the struggles of his captive. After much 
toil and trouble, however, he got across the stream, 
and brought his prize safe into camp. 

For the remainder of the evening the camp 
remained in a high state of excitement ; nothing 
was talked of but the capture of wild horses; 
every youngster of the troop was for this harum- 
scarum kind of chase ; every one promised him- 
self to return from the campaign in triumph, be- 
striding one of these wild coursers of the prairies. 
Beatte had suddenly risen to great importance ; 
he was the prime hunter, the hero of the day. 
Offers were made him by the best-mounted ran- 
gers, to let him ride their horses in the chase, pro- 
vided he would give them a share of the spoiL 
Beatte bore his honors in silence, and closed with 
none of the oflFers. Our stammering, chattering, 
gasconading little Frenchman, however, made up 
for his taciturnity by vaunting as much upon the 
subject as if. it were he that had caught the 

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131 CRArON MiaCELlANT. 

horse. Indeed he held forth so learnedly in the 
matter, and boasted so much of the many horses 
he had taken, that he b^an to be considered an 
oracle; and some of the youngsters were in- 
clined to doubt whether he were not superior even 
to the taciturn Beatte. 

The excitement kept the camp awake later 
than usuaL The hum of voices, interrupted by 
occasional peals of laughter, was heard fix>m 
the groups around the various fires, and the 
night was consideraldy advanced before all had 
sunk to sleep. 

With the morning dawn the excitement re- 
vived, and Beatte and his wild horse were agaia 
the gaze and talk of the camp. The captive had 
been tied all night to a tree among the other 
horses. He was again led forth by Beatte, by 
a long halter or lariat, and, on his manifesting the 
least restiveness, was, as before, jerked and wot- 
ned into passive submission. He appeared to be 
gentle and docile by nature, and had a beautiAilly 
mild expression of the eye. In his strange and 
forlorn situation, the poor animal seemed to sedk 
protection and companionship in the very horse 
wluch had aided to capture him. 

Seeing him thus gentle and tractable, Beatte, just 
as we were about to march, strapped a light pack 
upon his back, by way of giving him the first lesson 
in servitude. The native pride and independence 
of the animal took fire at this indignity. He 
reared, and plunged, and kicked, and tried in 
every way to get rid of the degrading burden* 
The Indian was too potent for him. At eveiy 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAJRIES, 188 

parozjsm he renewed the discipline of the Iialter, 
unt3 ^e pcxnr animfd^ driven to despair, threw 
himself prostrate on the ground, and lay motion- 
less, as if acknowledging himself vanquished. A 
stage hero, representing the despair of a captive 
prince, could not have played his part more dra- 
maticallj. There was absolutely a moral gran- 
deur in it. 

The imperturbable Beatte folded his arms, and 
stood for a time, looking down in silence upon hig 
captive ; until seeing him perfectly subdued, he 
Bodded his head slowly, screwed his mouth into 
a sardonic smile of triumph, and, with a jerk of 
the halter, ordered him to rise. He obeyed, and 
fix>m that time forward offered no resistance. 
Puring that day he bore his pack patiently, and 
was led by ihQ halter ; but in two days he fol- 
lowed voluntarily at large among the supemur 
Bierary horses of the troop. 

I could not but look wiUi compassion upoa this 
fine young animal, whose whole course of exist- 
ence had been so suddenly reversed. From being 
a denizenr of these vast pastures, ranging at will 
from plaifi to i^ain and mead to mead, cropping 
of evary herb and flower, and drinking of every 
Stream, he was suddenly reduced to perpetual 
and painful servitude, to pass his life under the 
harness and the* curb, amid, perhi^s, the din and 
dust and drudgery of cities^ The transition in 
His lot was such as sometimes takes place in hu- 
man affairs, and in the fortunes oi towering indi- 
fiduals: — one day, a prince of the pniries — 
Aft aext dajy a packrhorse I 



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CHAPTER XXL 

'im FOEDZKO 07 TEl RKD VOBK. — THB OKSAST 70KB8TB OF TOM " GBOM 
TDfBXR." — BU77AL0 ! 

|E left the camp of the wild horse about a 
quarter before eight, and, after steering 
nearly south for three or four miles, ar- 
rived on the banks of the Red Fork, about sev- 
enty-five miles, as we supposed, above its mouth; 
'The "river was about three hundred yards wide, 
wandering among sand - bars and shoals. Its 
shores, and the long sandy banks that stretched 
out into the stream, were printed, as usual, with 
the traces of various animids that had come down 
to cross it, or to drink, its waters. 

Here we came to a halt^ and there was much 
consultation about the possibility of fording the 
river with safety^ as there was an apprehension 
of quicksands. Beatte, who had been somewhat 
in the rear, came up while we were debating. 
He was mounted on his horse of the half-wild 
breed, and leading his captive by the bridle. He 
gave the latter in charge to Tonish, and without 
saying a word, urged his horse into the streamy 
and crossed it. in safety. Everything wafi done 
by this man in a similar way, promptly, resoliitelyy 

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A TOijB ON TEE PRAIRIES. 18^ 

and 'sileiitlyy without a previous promise or an' 
after vaunt. 

The troop now followed the lead of Beatte, and 
reached the opposite shore without any mishap, 
though one of the pack-horses, wandering a little 
from the track, came near being swallowed up in 
a quicksand, and was with difficulty dragged to 
land. 

After crossing the river, we had to force our 
way for nearly a mile through a thick canebrake, 
which, at first sight, appeared an impervious mass 
of reeds and brambles. It was a hard struggle , 
our horses were often to the saddle-girths in mire 
and water, and both horse and horseman harassed 
and torn by bush and brier. Falling, however, 
upon a buffido-trac^, we at length extricated our' 
selves from this morass, and ascended a ridge of 
land, where we beheld a beautiful open country 
before us ; while to our right the belt of forest 
land, called **The Cross Timber," continued 
stretching away to the southward, as far as the 
eye could reach. We soon abandoned the open 
country, and struck into the forest land. It was 
the intention of the Captain to keep on southwest 
by south, and traverse the Cross Timber diago- 
nally, so as to come out upon the edge of the great 
western prairie. By thus maintaining something 
of a southerly direction, he trusted, while he 
crossed the belt of the forest, he would at the 
same time approadi the Bed River. 

The plan of the Captain was judicious ; but 
he erred from not being informed of the nature 
(tf the country. Had he kept directly west, a 

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106 CBATON MISCELLANY. 

oouple of dajs would have carried us through the 
forest laud, aud we might theu have had au eaaiy 
oourse along the skirts of the upper prairies^ to 
Hed River ; by going diagonally, we were kept 
£br many weary days toiling through a dismal se- 
ries of rugged forests. 

The Cross Timber is about forty miles in' 
breadth, and stretches over a rough country of 
rolling hills, covered with scattered tracts of 
post-oak and black-jack; with some intervening 
valleys, which at proper seasons would afford 
good pasturage. It is very much cut up by deep 
ravines, which in the rainy seasons are the beds 
of temporary streams, tributary to the main rivers, 
and these are called "branches." The whole 
tract may present a pleasant aspect in the fresh 
time of the year, when the ground is covered 
with herbage ; when the trees are in their green 
lea^ and the glens are enlivened by running 
streams. Unfortunately, we entered it too late in 
the season. The herbage was parched ; the foli- 
age of the scrubby forests was withered; the 
whole woodland prospect, as &r as the eye could 
reach, had a brown and arid hue. The fires 
made on the prairies by the Indian hunters, had 
frequently penetrated these forests, sweeping in 
light transient flames along the dry grass, scorch- 
ing and calcining the lower twigs and branches of 
the trees, and leaving them black and hard, so as 
to tear the flesh of man and horse that had to 
scramble through them. I shall not easily forget 
the mortal toil, and the vexations of flesh and 
^iritj, that we underwent occasiooaUy, in our 



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A TOUR OK THE PRAIRIES. 1S7 

waadterings through the Cross Timber. It was 
like struggling through forests of cast iron. 

After a tedious ride of several miles, we came 
Oi^upon an c^n tract of hill and dale, inter- 
spersed with woodland. Here we were roused 
bj the cry of buffalo ! bufl[alo ! The effect was 
something like that of the ciy of a sail I a sail 1 
at sea* It was not a false alarm. Three or 
four of those enormous animals were visible 
to our si^ty grazing on the slope of a distant 
hilL 

There was a general movement to set off in 
pursuit, and it was with some difficulty that the 
▼ivaci^ of the younger men of the troop could 
be restrained. Leaving orders that the line of 
march should be preserved, the Captain and two 
of his officers departed at a quiet pace, aocompar 
nied by Beatte and by the ever-forward Tonish ; 
fi>r it was impossible any longer to keep the little 
Frenchman in check, being half crazy to prove 
his skill and prowess in hunting the buffalo. 

The intervening hills soon hid from us both 
the game and the huntsmen. We kept on our 
course in quest of a camping-place, whidi was 
difficult to be found ; almost all the channels of 
the streams being dry^ and the country being des- 
titute of fountain-headsb 

Afler proceeding some distance, there was 
again a cry of buffido, and two were pointed out 
on a hill to the left. The Captain being absent, 
it was no longer possible to restrain. the ardor of 
the young hunters. Away several of them dashed, 
full speed, and soon disappeared among the ra» 



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188 CRATON MISCELLAHT. 

vines ; the rest kept on, anxious to find a proper 
place for encampment. 

Indeed we now began to experience the disad- 
vantages of the season. The pasturage of the 
prairies was scanty and parched, the pearvines 
which grew in the woodj bottoms were withered, 
and most of the ^branches" or streams were 
dried up. While wandering in this perplexity, 
we were overtaken by the Captain and all his 
party, except Tonish. They had pursued the 
buffalo for some distance without getting within 
shot, and had ^ven up the chase, being fearM 
of fetiguing their horses, or being led off too &r 
, from camp. The little Frenchman, however, had 
galloped after them at headlong speed, and the 
last Uiey saw of him, he was engaged, as it were, 
yard-arm and yard-arm, with a great buffalo bull, 
firing broadsides into him. ^ I tink dat little man 
crazy — somehow," observed Beatte, dryly. 



,■1 

r 



n$^ 



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CHAPTER XXn. 

TBI AT.Aitig CLAICP. 

|E now came to alialt, and had to con- 
tent ourselves with an mdijOTerent en- 
campment It was in a grove of scrub- 
oaks, on the borders of a deep ravine, at the bot- 
tom of which were a few scanty pools of water. 
We were just at the foot of a gradually sloping 
iiill, covered with half-withered grass, that afforded 
meagre pasturage. In the spot where we had 
encamped, the grass was high and parched. The 
view around us was circumscribed and much shut 
in by gently swelling hills. 

Just as we were encamping, Tonish arrived, 
all glorious, &om his hunting-match; his white 
horse hung all round with buffalo meat. Accord- 
ing to his own account, he had laid low two 
mighty bulls. As usual, we deducted one half 
from his boastings ; but, now that he had some- 
thing real to vaunt about, there was no restrain- 
ing the valor of his tongue. 

Alter having in some measure appeased his 
vanity by boasting of his exploit, he informed us 
ihat he had observed the fresh track of horses, 
which, from various circumstances, he susp^Qted 



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140 CSATON MISCELLANY. 

to have been made by some roving band of 
Pawnees. This caused some little uneasiness. 
The young men who had left the line of march 
in pursuit of the two buffidoes, had not yet re- 
joined us; apprehensions were expressed that 
they might be waylaid and attacked. Our vet- 
eran hunter, old Byan/ also, immediately on our 
halting to encamp, had gone off on fool^ in com- 
pany with a young disciple. *^ Dat old man will 
have his brains knocked out by de Pawnees yet," 
said Beatte." " He tink he know everyting, but 
he don't know Pawnees, anyhow." 

Taking his rifle, the Captain repaired on foot 
to reconnoitre the country from the naked summit 
-of one of the neighboring hills. In the mean time 
the horses were hobbled and turned loose to 
graze ; and wood was cut, and iires made, to 
prepare the evening's repast 

Suddenly there was an alarm of fire in the 
camp ! The flame from one of the kindling fires 
had caught to the tall dry grass : a breeze was 
blowing ; there was danger that the camp would 
soon be wrapped in a light blaze. ^ Look to the 
horses I " cried one ; " drag away the baggage ! " 
cried another. ^ Take care of the rifles and 
powder-horns ! '' cried a thuil. All was hurry- 
scurry and uproar. The horses dashed wildly 
about : some of the men snatched away rifles 
and powder-horns, others dragged off saddles and 
saddle-bags. Meantime, no one thought of quell- 
ing the fire, nor indeed knew how to quell it* 
Beatte, however, and lus comrades attacked it in 
the Indian mode, beating down the edges of the 



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A TOVR ON THE PRAIRIEB. 141 

fire with blankets and horHe-dothe, and endeavor- 
ing to prevent its spreading among the grass ; the 
rangers followed their example, and in a little 
while the flames were happily qaelled. 

The fires were now properly kindled on places 
firom which the dry grass had been deared away. 
The hones were scattered about a small valleyi 
and on the sloping hiUndde, cropping the scanty 
herbage. Tonish was preparing a snmptnons 
evening^s meal from his bufiyo meat^ promising 
us a rich soup and a prime piece of roast beef; 
but we were doomed to experience another and 
more serious alarm. 

There was an indistinct cry from some rangers 
<m the summit of the hill, of which we could only 
distinguish the words, ^ The horses ! the horses I 
get in the horses P 

Immediately a clamor of voices arose ; shouts, 
questions, replies, were all mingled together, so 
that nothing could be clearly understood, and 
every one drew his own inference. 

^ The Captain has started bufialoes," cried one, 
^ and wants horses for the chase." Immediately 
a number of rangers seized their rifles, and scam- 
pered for the hiU-top. ^The prairie is on fire 
beycmd the hill,'' cried another ; ^ I see the smc^e 
— the Captain means we shall drive the horses 
beyond tho brook." 

By this time a ranger from the hill had reached 
the skirts of the camp. He was almost breath- 
less, and could only say that the Captain had 
•aen Indians at a distance. 

^Pawnees I Pawnees I" was now the cry 



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:142 CRAYON mStJELLANT. . 

among our wild-headed youngsters. . ** Drive the 
horses into the camp I ^ cried one. '^ Saddle the 
horses ! " cried another. " Form the line ! '* cried 
a third. There was now a scene of clamor and 
confusion that baffles all description. The rangers 
were scampering about the adjacent field in pur- 
suit of their horses. One might be seen tugging 
his steed along by a halter ; another wi&out a 
hat, riding bare-backed ; another driving a hob- 
bled horse before him, that made awkward leaps 
like a kangaroo. 

The alarm increased. Word was brought from 
the lower end of the camp that there was a band 
of Pawnees in a neighboring valley. They had 
shot old Byan through the head, and were chas- 
ing his companion. <^ No, it was not old Byan 
that was killed — it was one of the hunters that 
had been after the two buffaloes." ^< There are 
three hundred Pawnees just beyond the hilV 
cried one voice. ^ More, more I " cried another. 

Our situation, shut in among hills, prevented 
our seeing to any distance, and left us a prey to 
all these rumors. A cruel enemy was supposed 
to be at hand, and an immediate attack appre- 
hended. The horses by this time were driven 
into the camp, and were dashing about among the 
fires, and trampling upon the baggage. Every 
one endeavored to prepare for action ; but here 
was the perplexity. During the late alarm of 
fire, the saddles, bridles, rifles, powder-horns, 
and other equipments, had been snatched out oi 
their places, and thrown helter-skelter among the 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIE&. 143 

** Where is my saddle?" cried oue. "Has 
any one seen my rifle ? " cried another. " Who 
will lend me a ball ? " cried a third, who was load- 
ing his piece. "I have lost my bullet-pouch." 
" For Grod's sake, help me to girth this horse ! " 
cried another ; " he 's so restive I can do nothing 
with him." In his hurry and worry, he had put 
on the saddle the hind part before I 

Some affected to swagger and talk bold ; oth- 
ers said nothing, but went on steadily, preparing 
their horses and weapons, and on these! felt 
the most reliance. Some were evidently excited 
and elated with the idea of an encounter with 
Indians ; and none more so than my young Swiss 
fellow-traveller, who had a passion for wild ad- 
venture. Our man, Beatte, led his horses in the 
rear of the camp, placed his rifle against a tree, 
then seated himself by the fire in perfect silence. 
On the other hand, little Tonish, who was busy 
cooking, stopped every moment from his work to 
play the fanfaron, singing, swearing, and affecting 
an unusual hilarity, which made me strongly sus- 
pect that there was some little fright at bottom, 
to cause all this effervescence. 

About a dozen of the rangers, as soon as they 
could saddle their horses, dashed off in the direc- 
tion in which the Pawnees were said to have at- 
tacked the hunters. It was now determined, in 
case our camp should be assailed, to put our horses 
in the ravine in rear, where they would be out 
of danger from arrow or rifle-ball, and to take 
our stand within the edge of the ravine. This 
would serve as a trench, and the trees ai^d thick* 
10 

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144 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

ets with which it was bordered would be suffi* 
cient to turn aside anj shail of the enemj. The 
Pawnees, beside, are wary of attacking any cov- 
ert of the kind ; their warfare, as' I have already 
observed, Ues in the open prairie, where, mounted 
upon their fleet horses, they can swoop like hawks 
upon their enemy, or wheel about him and dis* 
charge their arrows. Still I could not but per- 
ceive, that, in case of being attacked by such a 
number of these well-mounted and warlike sav- 
ages as were said to be at hand, we should be 
exposed to considerable risk from the inexperi- 
ence' and want of discipline of our newly-raised 
rangers, and from the very courage of many of 
the younger ones who seemed bent on adventure 
and exploit 

By this time the Captain reached the camp, 
and every one crowded round him for informa- 
tion. He informed us that he had proceeded 
some distance on his reconnoitring expedition, and 
was slowly returning towards the camp, along the 
brow of a naked hill, when he saw something on 
the edge of a parallel hill, that looked like a man. 
He paused, and watched it ; but it remained so 
perfectly motionless, that he supposed it a bush, 
or the top of some tree beyond the hill. He re- 
sumed his course, when it likewise began to move 
in a parallel direction. Another form now rose 
beside it, of some one who had either been lying 
down, or had just ascended the other side of the 
hilL The Captain stopped and regarded them; 
they likewise stopped. He then lay down upon 
Hie grass, and they began to walk. On his lis- 



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A TOVR ON THE PRAIRIES, 145 

ing, they again stopped, as if watching him 
Sjiowing that the Indians are apt to have their 
spies and sentinels thus posted on the summit of 
naked hills, commanding extensive prospects, his 
doubts were increased bj the suspicions move- 
ments of these men. He now put his foraging- 
cap on the end of his rifle, and waved it in the 
air. They took no notice of the signal. He 
then walked on, until he entered the edge of a 
wood, which concealed him from their view. 
Stopping out of sight for a moment, he again 
looked forth, when he saw the two men passing 
swiftly forward. As the hill on which l^ey were 
walking made a curve toward that on which he 
stood, it seemed as if they were endeavoring to 
head him before he should reach the camp. Doubt- 
ing whether they might not belong to some large 
party of Indians, either in ambush or moving 
along the valley beyond the hill, the Captain hast- 
ened' his steps homeward, and, descrying some 
rangers on an eminence between him and the 
camp, he called out to them to pass the word to 
have the horses driven in, as these are genenJly 
the first objects of Indian depredation. 

Such was the origin of the alarm which had 
thrown the camp in commotion. Some <^ those 
who heard the Captain's narration, had no doubt 
that the men on the hill were Pawnee scouts, be- 
longing to the band that had waylaid the hunters. 
Distant shots were heard at intervals, which were 
supposed to be fired by those who had sallied out 
to rescue their comrades. Several more rangers, 
having completed their 3quipments, now rode 



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146 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

forth in the direction of the firing ; others looked 
anxious and uneasy. 

" If they are as numerous as they are said to 
be," said one, " and as well mounted as they gen- 
erally are, we shall be a bad match for them with 
our jaded horses." 

"Well," replied the Captain, "we have a 
strong encampment, and can stand a siege." 

" Ay, but they may set fire to the prairie in 
the night, and bum us out of our encampment" 

" We will then set up a counter-fire I " 

The word was now passed that a man on horse- 
back approached the camp. 

" It is one of the hunters I It is Clements I 
He brings buffalo meat I " was announced by sev- 
eral voices as the horseman drew near. 

It was, in fact, one of the rangers who had set 
off in the morning in pursuit of the two buffaloes. 
He rode into the camp, with the spoils of the 
chase hanging round his horse, and followed by 
his companions, all sound and unharmed, and 
equally well laden. They proceeded to give an 
account of a grand gallop they had had after the 
two buffaloes, and how many shots it had cost 
them to bring one to the ground. 

"Well, but the Pawnees — the Pawnees-— 
where are the Pawnees ? " 

« What Pawnees ? " 

" The Pawnees that attacked you." 

" No one attacked us." 

" But have you seen no Indians on your way ? * 

" Oh, yes ; two of us got to the top of a hill 
to look out for the camp, and saw a fellow on aa 



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A TOUR ON TEE PRAIRIEB. 147 

opposite hill cutting queer antics, who seemed to 
be an Indian.'^ 

" Pshaw ! that was I ! " said the Captain. 

Here the bubble burst. The whole alarm had 
risen &om this mutual mistake of the Captain 
and the two rangers. As to the report of the 
three hundred Pawnees and their attack on the 
hunters, it proved to be a wanton fabrication, of 
which no further notice was taken ; though the 
author deserved to have been sought out, and se- 
verely punished. 

There being no longer any prospect of fighting, 
every one now thought of eating ; and here the 
stomachs throughout the camp were in unison. 
Tonish served up to us his promised regale of 
buffalo soup and buffalo beef. The soup was pep- 
pered most horribly, and the roast beef proved the 
bull to have been one of the patriarchs of the 
prairies ; never did I have to deal with a tougher 
morseL . However, it was our first repast on buf- 
fiJo meat : so we ate it with a lively &ith ; nor 
would our little Frenchman allow us any rest 
until he had extorted from us an acknowledgment 
of the excellence of his cookery ; though the 
pepper gave us the lie in our throats. 

The night closed in without the return of old 
Ryan and his companion. We had become ac- 
customed, however, to the aberrations of this old 
cock of the woods, and no further solicitude was 
expressed on his account. 

After the fatigues and agitations of the day, 
the camp soon sunk into a profound sleep, except- 
ing those on guard, who were more than usually 

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148 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

on the alert; for the traces recently seen of 
Pawnees, and the certainty that we were m the 
midst of their hunting-grounds, excited to con- 
stant vigilance. About half past ten o'clock we 
were all startled from sleep by a new alarm. A 
sentinel had fired off his rifie and run into camp, 
crying that there were Indians at hand. 

Every one was on his legs in an instant. 
Some seized their rifles ; some were about to 
saddle their horses ; some hastened to the Cap- 
tain's lodge, but were ordered back to their re- 
spective fires. The sentinel was examined. He 
declared he had seen an Indian approach, crawl- 
ing along the ground, whereupon he had fired 
upon him, and run into camp. The Captain 
gave it as his opinion that the supposed Indian 
was a wolf; he reprimanded the sentinel for de- 
serting his post, and obliged him to return to it. 
Many seemed inclined to give credit to the story 
of the sentinel; for the events of the day had 
predisposed them to apprehend lurking foes and 
sudden assaults during the darkness of the night. 
For a long time they sat round their fire^ with 
rifle in hand, carrying on low, murmuring con- 
versations, and listening for some new alarm. 
Nothing further, however, occurred; the voices 
gradually died away ; the gossipers nodded and 
dozed, and sunk to rest ; and, by degrees, silence 
and sleep once more stole over the camp. 



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CHAPTER XXnL 




BIATB& BAH. — BUFFALO AND HOBSK TRAOKS. — A PAWKU TRAIL.-— 
was HOBSSS.— THB TOUKO- HUlfTaE JOth TBI BBAB. — OHAHOI Of 

Boon. 



mustering our forces in the morning, 
(Oct. 23,) old Ryan and his comrade 
were still missing; but the Captain 
had such perfect reliance on the skill and re- 
sources of the veteran woodsman, that he did not 
think it necessary to take any measures with re- 
spect to him. 

Our march this day lay through the same kind 
of rough roUing country; checkered by brown 
dreary forests of post-oak, and cut up by deep 
dry ravines. The distant fires were evidently in- 
creasing on the prairies. The wind had been at 
northwest for several days ; and the atmosphere 
had become so smoky, as in the height of Indian 
summer, that it was difficult to distinguish ob- 
jects at any distance. 

In the course of the morning we crossed a 
deep stream with a complete beaver dam, above 
three feet high, making a large pond, and doubt* 
less containing several £gimilies of that industrious 
animal, though not one showed His nose above 



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160 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

water. The Captain would not permit this am- 
phibious commonwealth to be disturbed. 

We were now continually coming upon the 
tracks of buffaloes and wild horses ; those of the 
former tended invariably to the south, as we 
could perceive by the direction of the trampled 
grass. It was evident we were on the great 
highway of these migratory herds, but that they 
had chiefly passed to the southward. 

Beatte, who generally kept a parallel course 
several hundred yards distant from our line of 
march, to be on the look-out for game, and who 
regarded every track with the knowing eye of 
an Indian, reported that he had come upon a very 
suspicious trail. There were the tracks of men 
who wore Pawnee moccasons. He had scented 
the smoke of mingled sumach and tobacco, such 
as the Indians use. He had observed tracks of 
horses, mingled with those of a dog ; and a mark 
in the dust where a cord had been trailed along ; 
probably the long bridle, one end of which the 
Indian horsemen suffer to trail on the ground. 
It was evident, they were not the tracks of wild 
horses. My anxiety began to revive about the 
safety of our veteran hunter Ryan, for I had 
taken a great fancy to this real old Leatherstock- 
ing ; every one expressed a confidence, however, 
that, wherever Ryan was, he was safe, and knew 
how to take care of himself. 

We had accomplished the greater part of a 
weary day's march, and were passing through a 
glade of the oak openings, when we came in sight 
of six wild horses, among which I especially no- 

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A TOUR ON THE PSAIEISS. 151 

ticed two very handsome ones, a gray and a roan. 
They pranced about, with heads erect, and long 
flaunting tails, offering a proud contrast to our 
poor, spiritless, travel-tired steeds. Having rec- 
onnoitred us for a moment, they set off at a gal- 
lop, passed through a woody dingle, and in a little 
while emerged once more to view, trotting up a 
slope about a mile distant 

The sight of these horses was again a sore 
trial to the vaporing Tonish, who had his lariat 
and forked stick ready, and was on the point of 
launching forth in pursuit, on his jaded horse, 
when he was again ordered back to the pack- 
horses. 

After a day's journey of fourteen miles in a 
southwest direction, we encamped on the banks 
of a small clear stream, on the northern border of 
the Cross Timbers, and on the edge of those 
vast prairies that extend away to the foot of the 
Bocky Mountains. In turning loose the horses 
to graze, their bells were stuffed with grass to 
prevent their tinkling, lest it might be heard by 
some wandering horde of Pawnees. 

Our hunters now went out in different directions, 
but without much success, as but one deer was 
brought into the camp. A young ranger had a 
long story to teU of his adventures. In skirting the 
thickets of a deep ravine he had wounded a buck, 
which he plainly heard to fall among the bushes. 
He stopped to &x. the lock of his rifle, which was 
out of order, and to reload it ; then advancing to 
the edge of the thicket, in quest of his game, he 
heard a low growling. Putting the branches 

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152 CRAYON MI8CELLANT. 

aside, and stealing silcntlj forward, he looked 
down into* the raving and beheld a huge bear 
dragging the carcass of the deer along the dry 
channel of a brook, and growling and snarling at 
four or five officious wolves, who seemed to have 
dropped in to take supper with him. 

The ranger fired at the bear, but missed him. 
Bruin maintained his ground and his prize, and 
seemed disposed to make battle. The wolves, 
too, who were evidently sharp set, drew off to but 
a small distance. As night was coming on, the 
young hunter felt dismayed at the wildness and 
darkness of the place, and the strange company 
he had fallen in with ; so he quietly withdrew, 
and returned empty-handed to the camp, where, 
having told his story, he was heartily bantered 
by his more experienced comrades. 

In the course of the evening, old Byan came 
straggling into the camp, followed by his disciple, 
and as usual was received with hearty gratulations* 
He had lost himself yesterday, when hunting, and 
camped out all nighty but had found our trail in 
the morning, and followed it up. He had passed 
some time at the beaver dam, admiring the skill 
and solidity with which it had been constructed. 
" These beavers," said he, " are industrious little 
fellows. They are the knowingest varment as I 
know; and I'll warrant the pond was stocked 
with them." 

"Aye," said the Captain, "I have no doubt 
most of the small rivers we have passed are full 
of beaver. I would like to come and ^ap on 
these waters all winter." 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAI&IES.^ 168 

** But would you not run the chance of being 
attacked by Indians ? " asked one of the com* 
pany. 

'^ Oh, as to that, it would be safe enough here, 
in the winter-time. There would be no Indians 
here until spring. I should want no more than 
two companions. Three persons are safer than a 
large number for trapping beaver. ' They can 
keep quiet, and need seldom fire a gun. A bear 
would serve them for food for t^o months, taking 
care to turn every part of it to advantage." 

A consultation was now held as to our future 
progress. We had thus fer pursued a western 
course, and, having traversed the Cross Timber, 
were on the skirts of the Great Western Prairie. 
We were still, however, in a very rough country, 
where food was scarce. The season was so far 
advanced that the grass was withered, and the 
prairies yielded no pasturage. The pea-vines of 
the bottoms, also, which had sustained our horses 
for some part of the journey, were nearly gone, 
and for several days past the poor animals had 
^en off wofully both in flesh and spirit The In- 
dian fires on the prairies were approaching us from 
north and south and west; they might spread 
also from the east, and leave a scorched desert be- 
tween us and the fix)ntier, in which our horses 
might be famished. 

It was determined, therefore, to advance no 
further to the westward, but to shape our course 
more to the east, so as to strike the north fork 
of the Canadian as soon as possible, where we 
hoped to find abundance of young cane ; which. 



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154 



CBATOli MISCELLANY. 



at this season of the year, affords the most nutri- 
tious pasturage for tiie horses, and at the same 
time attracts immense quantities of game. Here 
then we fixed the limits of our tour to the Far 
West, being within little more than a daj^s march 
of the boundary line of Texas. 




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CHAPTER XXIV. 

SOABOITT OP BUAS. — BXKOOFmB 1PITH BUTFALOXS. — WILD TUBKXTS 
VALL OV A BUFPALO BULL. 

HEEE momiDg broke bright and clear, but 
the camp had nothing of its usual gaj- 
ety. The concert of the farm-yard was 
at an end; not a cock crew, nor dog barked ; nor 
was there either singing or laughing ; every one 
pursued his avocations quietly and gravely. The 
novelty of the expedition was wearing off. Some 
of the yoimg men were getting as wayworn as 
their horses; and most of them, imaccustomed 
to the hunter^s life, began to repine at its priva- 
tions. What they most felt was the want of 
bread, their rations of flour having been exhausted 
for several days. The old hunters, who had oflen 
experienced this want, made light of it ; and Beatte, 
accustomed when among the Indians to live for 
months without it, considered it a mere article 
of luxury. ** Bread," he would say scornfully, 
"is only fit for a child.** 

About a quarter before eight o'clock we turned 
our backs upon the Far West, and set off in a 
southeast course, along a gentle valley. After 
riding a few miles, Beatte, who kept parallel with 
08, along the ridge of a naked hill to our rights 



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156 CBA70N MISCELLANY. 

called out and made signals, as if something wero 
ooming round the hill to intercept us. Some, 
who were near me, cried out that it was a party 
of Pawnees. A skirt of thickets hid the approach 
of the supposed enemy from our view. We heard 
a trampling among the brushwood. My horse 
looked toward the place, snorted and pricked up 
his ears, when presently a couple of large huge 
buffalo bulls, who had been alarmed by Beatte, 
came crashing through the brake, and making di« 
rectly towards us. At sight of us they wheeled 
round, and scuttled along a narrow defile of the 
bill. In an instant half a score of rifles cracked 
off; there was a universal whoop and halloo, and 
away went half the troop, helter-skelter in pursuit, 
and myself among the number. The most of us 
fKX)n pulled up, and gave over a chase which led 
through birch and brier, and break-neck ravines. 
Some few of the rangers persisted for a time ; 
but eventually joined the line, slowly lagging one 
after another. One of them returned on foot ; he 
had been thrown while in full chase ; his rifle 
had been broken in the fall, and his horse, retain- 
ing the spirit of the rider, had kept on after the 
buffalo. It was a melancholy predicament to be 
reduced to, without horse or weapon in the midst 
of the Pawnee hunting-grounds. 

For my own part, I had been fortunate enough 
recently, by a further exchange, to get possession 
of the best horse in the troop ; a full-blooded sor- 
rel of excellent bottom, beautiful form, and most 
generous qualities. 

In such a situation, it almost seems as if a man 



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A TOVR ON THE PRAIRIES. 157 

dianges his nature with his horse. I felt quite 
like another being, now that I had an animal un- 
der me, spirited yet gentle, docile to a remarkable 
degree, and easy, elastic, and rapid in all his 
movements. In a few days he became almost as 
much attached to me as a dog; would follow me 
when I dismoimted, would come to me in the 
morning to be noticed and caressed ; and would 
put his muzzle between me and my book, as I 
sat reading at the foot of a tree. The feeling I 
had for this my dumb companion of the prairies 
gave me some faint idea of that attachment the 
Arab is said to entertain for the horse that has 
borne him about the deserts. 

After riding a few miles further, we came to a 
fine meadow with a broad dear stream winding 
throu^ it, on the banks of which there was ex- 
cellent pasturage. Here we at once came to a 
halt, in a beautiftil grove of elms, on the site of 
an old Osage encampment. Scarcely had we 
dismounted, when a imive^sal firing of rifies took 
place upon a large flock of turkeys, scattered 
about the grove, which proved to be a favorite 
roosting-place for these simple birds. They flew 
to the trees, and sat perched upon their branches, 
stretching out their long necks, and gazing in 
Stupid astonishment, until eighteen of them were 
shot down. 

Iq the height of the carnage, word was brought 
that there were four buffaloes in a neighboring 
meadow. The tuAeys were now abandoned for 
nobler game. The tired horses were again 
mounted, and urged to the chase. In a little 



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158 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

while we came in sight of the buffaloes, looking^ 
like brown hillocks among the long green herb* 
age. Beatte endeavored to get ahead of them 
and turn them towards us, that the inexperienced 
himters might have a chance. They ran round 
the base of a rocky hill, that hid us from the 
sight. Some of us endeavored to cut across the 
hill, but became entrapped in a thick wood matted 
with grape-vines. My horse, who under his 
former rider had hunted the buffalo, seemed as 
much excited as myself, and endeavored to force 
his way through the bushes. At length we ex- 
tricated ourselves, and galloping over the hill, I 
found our little Frenchman Tonish curvetting on 
horseback round a great buffalo which he had 
wounded too severely to fly, and which he was 
keeping employed until we should come up. 
There was a mixture of the grand and the comic 
in beholding this tremendous animal and his fan- 
tastic assailant The bu^alo stood with his 
shagged front always presented to his foe; his 
mouth open, his tongue parched, his eyes like 
coals of fire, and his tail erect with rage ; every 
now and then he would make a faint rush 
upon his foe, who easily evaded his attack, ca- 
pering and cutting all kinds of antics before him. 
We now made repeated shots at the buffalo, 
but they glanced into his mountain of flesh with- 
out proving mortal. He made a slow and grand 
retreat into the shallow river, turning upon his 
assailants whenever they pressed upon him ; and 
when in the water, took his stand there as if 
prepared to sustain a siege. A rifle-ball, how 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 159 

erer, more fatally lodged, sent a tremor through 
his fi*ame. He turned and attempted to wade 
across the stream, but after tottering a few paces, 
slowly fell upon his side and expired. It was 
the ^aH of a hero, and we felt somewhat ashamed 
of the butchery that had effected it ; but, after 
the first shot or two, we had reconciled it to our 
feelings, by the old plea of putting the poor ani- 
mal out of his misery. 

Two other buffaloes were killed this evening, 
but they were all bulls, the flesh of which is mea- 
gre and hard at this season of the year. A &t 
buck yielded u^ more savory meat for our even- 
ing's repast 



11 




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CHAPTER XXV. 

Bnranio thx wild hobsi. 

|E left the buffalo -camp about eight 
o'clock, and had a toilsome and harassing 
march of two hours, over ridges of hills, 
covered with a ragged meagre forest of scrub-oaks, 
and broken bj deep gullies. Among the oaks I 
observed many of the most diminutive size ; some 
not above a foot high, yet bearing abundance of 
small acorns. The whole of the Cross Timber, 
in fact, abounds with mast. There is a pine-oak 
which produces an acorn pleasant to the taste, and 
ripening early in the season. 

About ten o'clock in the morning we came to 
where this line of rugged hills swept down into a 
valley, through which flowed the north fork of 
the Red River. A beautiful meadow about half 
a mile wide, enamelled with yellow autumnal 
flowers, stretched for two or three miles along 
the foot of the hills, bordered on the opposite side 
by the river, whose banks were fringed with cot- 
ton-wood trees, the bright foliage of which re- 
freshed and delighted the eye, after being wearied 
by the contemplation of monotonous wastes of 
brown forest. 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 161 

The meadow was finely diversified by groves 
and clumps of trees, so happily dispersed, that 
they seemed as if set out by the hand of art. As 
we cast our eyes over this fresh and delightful 
valley, we beheld a troop of wild horses, quietly 
grazing on a green lawn, about a mile distant to 
our right, while to our left, at nearly the same 
distance, were several buffaloes, — some feeding, 
others reposing and ruminating among the high 
rich herbage, under the shade of a clump of cot- 
ton-wood trees. The whole had the appearance 
of a broad beautiful tract of pasture-land, on the 
highly ornamented estate of some gentleman 
farmer, with his cattle grazing about the lawns 
and meadows. 

A council of war was now held, and it was de- 
termined to profit by the present favorable oppor- 
tunity, and try our hand at the grand hunting 
manoeuvre, which is called ringing the wild horse. 
This requires a large party of horsemen, well 
mounted. They extend themselves in each di- 
rection, singly, at certain distances apart, and 
gradually form a ring of two or three miles in 
circumference, so as to surround the game. This 
has to be done with extreme care, for the wild 
horse is the most readily alarmed inhabitant of 
the prairie, and can scent a hunter at a great dis- 
tance, if to windward. 

The ring being formed, two or three ride 
towards the horses, who start off in an opposite 
direction. Whenever they approach the bounds 
of the ring, however, a huntsman presents him- 
self and turns them from their course. In this 

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162 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

way they are checked and driven back at every 
point ; and kept galloping round and round this 
magic circle, until, being completely tired down, it 
is easy for the hunters to ride up beside them, and 
throw the lariat over their heads. The prime horses 
of most speed, courage, and bottom, however, are 
apt to break through and escape, so that, in gen- 
eral, it is the second-rate horses that are taken. 

Preparations were now made for a hunt of the 
kind. The pack-horses were taken into the woods 
and firmly tied to trees, lest, in a rush of the 
wild horses, they should break away with them. 
Twenty-five men were then sent, under the com- 
mand of a lieutenant, to steal along the edge of 
the valley within the strip of wood that skirted 
the hills. They were to station themselves about 
^j yards apart, within the edge of the woods, 
and not advance or show themselves until the 
horses dashed in that direction. Twenty-five 
men were sent across the valley, to steal in like 
manner along the river-bank that bordered the 
opposite side, and to station themselves among the 
trees. A third party, of about the same number, 
was to form a line stretching across the lower 
part of the valley, so as to connect the two wings. 
Beatte and our other half-breed Antoine, together 
with the ever-officious Tonish, were to make a 
circuit through the woods, so as to get to the up- 
per part of the valley, in the rear of the horses, 
and to drive them forward into the kind of sack 
that we had formed, while the two wings should 
join behind them and make a complete circle. 

The flanking parties were quietly extending 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 163 

themselves, out of sight, on each side of the val- 
ley, and the residue were stretching themselves^ 
like the links of a chain, across it, when the wild 
horses gave signs that they scented an enemy ; 
snufHng the air, snorting, and looking ahout At 
length they pranced off slowly toward the river, 
and disappeared behind a green bank. Here, had 
the regulations of the chase been observed, they 
would have been quietly checked and turned back 
by the advance of a hunter from among the trees ; 
unluckily, however, we had our wildfire Jack-o'- 
lantern little Frenchman to deal with. Instead 
of keeping quietly up the right side of the valley, 
to get above the horses, the moment he saw them 
move toward the river he broke out of the covert 
of woods, and dashed furiously across the plain in 
pursuit of them, being mounted on one of the led 
horses belonging to the Count. This put an end 
to all system. The half-breeds and half a score 
of rangers joined in the chase. Away they all 
went over the green bank ; in a moment or two 
the wild horses reappeared, and came thundering 
down the valley, with Frenchman, half-breeds, 
and rangers galloping and yelling like devils be- 
hind them. It was in vain that the line drawn 
across the valley attempted to check and turn 
back the fiigitives. They were too hotly pressed 
by their pursuers ; in their panic they dashed 
through the line, and clattered down the plain. 
The whole troop joined in the headlong chase, 
some of the rangers without hats or caps, their 
hair flying about their ears ; others with handker- 
clue& tied round theur heads. The buffaloes, who 



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164 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

had been calmly ruminating among the herbage^ 
heaved up their huge forms, gazed for a moment 
with astonishment at the tempest that came scour- 
ing down the meadow, then turned and took to 
heavy-rolling flight. They were soon overtaken : 
the promiscuous throng were pressed together by 
the contracting sides of the valley, and away they 
went, pell-mell, hurry-scurry, wild buffalo, wild 
horse, wild huntsman, with clang and clatter, and 
whoop and halloo, that made the forests ring. 

At length the buffaloes turned into a green 
brake on the river-bank, while the horses dashed 
up a narrow defile of the hills, with their pursuers 
close at their heels. Beatte passed several of them, 
having fixed his eye upon a fine Pawnee horse, 
that had his ears slit, and saddle-marks upon his 
back. He pressed him gallantly, but lost him in 
the woods. Among the wild horses was a fine 
black mare, far gone with foal. In scrambling up 
the defile, she tripped and fell. A young ranger 
sprang £rom his horse, and seized her by the 
mane and muzzle. Another ranger dismounted, 
and came to his assistance. The mare struggled 
fiercely, kicking and biting, and striking with her 
fore-feet ; but a noose was slipped over her head, 
and her struggles were in vain. It was some 
tame, however, before she gave over rearing and 
plunging, and lashing out with her feet on every 
side. The two rangers then led her along th« 
valley by two long lariats, which enabled them 
to keep at a sufficient distance on each side to be 
out of the reach of her hoofe ; and whenever she 
struck out in one direction, she was jerked in the 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 165 

Oilier. In this way her spirit was gradually sub« 
dued. 

As to little Scaramouch Tonish, who had 
maiTed the whole scene by his precipitancy, he 
had been more successful than he deserved, hav- 
ing managed to catch a beautiful cream-colored 
oolt, about seven months old, which had not 
strength to keep up with its companions. The 
mercurial little Frenchman was beside himself 
with exultation. It was amusing to see him with 
his prize. The colt would rear and kick, and 
struggle to get free, when Tonish would take him 
about the neck, wrestle with him, jump on his back, 
and cut as many antics as a monkey with a kitten. 
Nothing surprised me more, however, than to 
witness how soon these poor animals, thus taken 
from the unbounded freedom of the prairie, yielded 
to the dominion of man. In the course of two 
or three days the mare and colt went with the led 
horses, and became quite docile. 



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1 





CHAPTER XXVI. 

FOBDINO OF THS KOBTH FOSK. — BBBAST SCENK&T OF THE 0B088 TIU- 
BSB.~SOAMPBB OF H0BSB9 IS THB NIGHT. — 08AOB WAS-FABTT. — 
XFFECT8 OF A PBAOB HABANGUB. — BUFFALO. — WILD HOBSB. 

JESUMING our march, we forded tho 
North Fork, a rapid stream, and of a 
purity seldom to be found in the rivers 
of the prairies. It evidently had its sources in 
high land, well supplied with springs. After 
crossing the river, we again ascended among hills, 
from one of which we had an extensive view over 
this belt of cross timber, and a cheerless prospect 
it was, — hill beyond hill, forest beyond forest, all 
of one sad russet hue, excepting that here and 
there aline of green cotton-wood trees, sycamores, 
and willows marked the course of some streamlet 
through a valley. A procession of buffaloes, mov- 
ing slowly up the profile of one of those distant 
hills, formed a characteristic object in the savage 
scene. To the left;, the eye stretched beyond 
this rugged wilderness of hills, and ravines, and 
ragged forests, to a prairie about ten miles off, ex- 
tending in a clear blue line along the horizon. It 
was like looking from among rocks and break- 
ers upon a distant tract of tranquil ocean. Un- 
luckily, our route did not lie in that direction ; we 

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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIEa. 167 

Btill had to traverse many a wearj mile of the 
" cross timber." 

We encamped towards eveniug in a vallej, be- 
side a scanty pool, under a scattered grove of elms, 
the Tipper branches of which were fringed with 
tufts of the mystic mistletoe. In the course of 
the night, the wild colt whinnied repeatedly ; and 
about two hours before day there was a sudden 
stampedoj or rush of horses, along the purlieus of 
the camp, with a snorting and neighing, and clat- 
tering of hoofs, that startled most of the rangers 
from their sleep, who listened in silence, imtil the 
sound died away like the rushing of a blast. As 
usual, the noise was at first attributed to some 
party of marauding Indians ; but as the day 
dawned, a couple of wild horses were seen in a 
neighboring meadow, which scoured off on being 
approached. It was now supposed that a gang 
of them had dashed through our camp in the m'ght. 
A general mustering of our horses took place; 
many were found scattered to a considerable dis- 
tance, and several were not to be found. The 
prints of their hoofe, however, appeared deeply 
dinted in the soil, leading off at full speed into 
the waste ; and their owners, putting themselves 
on tlie trail, set off in weary search of them. 

We had a ruddy daybreak, but the morning 
gathered up gray and lowering, with indications 
of an autumnal storm. We resumed our march 
silently and seriously, through a rough and cheer- 
less country, from the highest points of which we 
could descry large prairies stretching indefinitely 
westward. After travelling for two or three 



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168 CRAYON iilSCELLANT. 

hours, as we were traversing a withered prairie 
resembling a great brown heath, wo beheld seven 
Osage warriors approaching at a distance. The 
sight of any human being in this lonely wilder- 
ness was interesting ; it was like speaking a ship 
at sea. One of the Indians took the lead of his 
companions, and advanced towards us, with head 
erect, chest thrown forward, and a free and noble 
mien. He was a fine-looking fellow, dressed in 
scarlet frock and fringed leggins of deer-skin. 
His head was decorated with a white tufl, and he 
stepped forward with something of a martial air, 
swaying his bow and arrows in one hand. We 
held some conversation with him through our in- 
terpreter, Beatte, and found that he and his com- 
panions had been with the main part of their 
tribe hunting the buffalo, and had met with great 
success ; and he informed us that in the course 
of another day's march we would reach the prai- 
ries on the banks of the Grand Canadian, and 
find plenty of game. He added, that, as their 
hunt was over, and the hunters on their return 
homeward, he and his comrades had set out on a 
war party, to waylay and hover about some Paw- 
nee camp, in hopes of carrying off scalps or horses. 
By this time his companions, who at first stood 
aloof, joined him. Three of them had indifferent 
fowling-pieces; the rest were armed with bows 
and arrows. I could not but admire the finely 
shaped heads and busts of these savages, and their 
gracefrd attitudes and expressive gestures, as they 
stood conversing with our interpreter, and sur- 
JTounded by a cavalcade of rangers. We endear- 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES, 169 

ored to get one of them to join us, as we were 
desirous yof seeing him hunt the buffalo with his 
bow and arrow. He seemed at first inclined to 
do so, but was dissuaded bj his companions. 

The worthy Commissioner now remembered 
his mission as pacificator, and made a speech, ex- 
horting them to abstain from all ofiensive acts 
against the Pawnees ; informing them of the plan 
of their father at Washington, to put an end to all 
war among his red children ; and assuring them 
that he was sent to the frontier to establish a uni- 
versal peace. He told them, therefore, to return 
quietly to their homes, with the certainty that 
the Pawnees would no longer molest them, but 
would soon regard them as brothers. 

The Indians listened to the speech with their 
customary silence and decorum ; ailer which, ex- 
changing a few words among themselves, they 
bade us farewell, and pursued their way across 
the prairie. 

Fancying that I saw a lurking smile in the 
countenance of our interpreter, Beatte, I pri- 
vately inquired what the Indians had said to each 
other after hearing the speech. The leader, he 
said, had observed to his companions, that, as their 
great father intended so soon to put an end to all 
warfioire, it behooved them to make the most of the 
little time that was left them. So they had de- 
parted, with redoubled zeal, to pursue their pro- 
ject at horse-stealing I 

We had not long parted from the Indians before 
we discovered three bufialoes among the thickets 
rf a marshy valley to our left. I set off with the 



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170 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

Captain and several rangers, in pursuit of them. 
Stealing through a straggling grove, the Captain, 
who took the lead, got within rifle-shot, and 
wounded one of them in the flank. Thej all 
three made off in headlong panic, through thickets 
and brushwood, and swamp and mire, bearing 
down every obstacle by their immense weight. 
The Captain and rangers soon gave up a chase 
which threatened to knock up their horses ; I had 
got upon the traces of the wounded bull, however, 
and was in hopes of getting near enough to use 
my pistols, the only weapons with which I was 
provided ; but before I could effect it, he reached 
the foot of a rocky hill covered with post-oak and 
brambles, and plunged forward, djishing and crash- 
ing along, with neck-o^-nothing-fury, where it 
would have been madness to have followed him. 

The chase had led me so far on one side, that 
it was some time before I regedned the trail of 
our troop. As I was slowly ascending a hill, a 
fine black mare came prancing round the summit, 
and was close to me before she was aware. At 
sight of me she started back, then turning, swept 
at full speed down into the valley, and up the 
opposite hill, with flowing mane and tail, and action 
&ee as air. I gazed after her as long as she was 
in sight, and breathed a wish that so glorious 
an animal might never come under the degrad- 
ing thraldom of whip and curb, but remain a free 
rover of the prairies. 



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CHAPTER XXVn. 




FOUIrWIATHER IN0AHPMS5T. — ANECDOTES OF BEAB-HUNTma. — INDXAB 
FOTIONS ABOUT OMENS. — SCBUPLES BSSPECTINO THE SEAS. 

overtaking the troop, I found it encamp- 
ing in a rich bottom of woodland, trav- 

ersed by a small stream, running between 

deep crumbling banks. A sharp cracking off of 
rifles was kept up for some time in various direc- 
tions, upon a numerous flock of turkeys, scamper- 
ing among the thickets, or peipched upon the trees. 
We had not been long at a halt, when a drizzling 
rain ushered in the autumnal storm that had been 
brewing. Preparations were immediately made 
to weather it ; our tent was pitched, and our sad- 
dles, saddle-bags, packages of coffee, sugar, salt, 
and everything else that could be damaged by the 
rain, were gathered under its shelter. Our men, 
Beatte, Tonish, and Antoine, drove stakes with 
forked ends into the ground, laid poles across them 
for rafters, and thus made a shed or pent-house, 
covered with bark and skins, sloping towards the 
wind, and open towards the fire. The rangers 
formed similar shelters of bark and skins, or of 
blankets stretched on poles, supported by forked 
stakes, with great fires in front. 

These precautions were well-timed. The win 



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172 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

Bet iu sullenly and steadily, and kept ou, with 
slight intermissions, for two days. The brook, 
which flowed peaceably on our arrival, swelled 
into a turbid and boiling torrent, and the forest 
became little better than a mere swamp. The 
men gathered under their shelters of skins and 
blankets, or sat cowering round their fires ; while 
columns of smoke curling up among the trees, 
and diffusing themselves in the air, spread a blue 
haze through the woodland. Our poor, way-worn 
horses, reduced by weary travel and scanty pas- 
turage, lost all remaining spirit, and stood, with 
drooping heads, flagging ears, and half-closed eyes, 
• dozing and steaming in the rain ; while the yel- 
low autumnal leaves, at every shaking of the 
breeze, came wavering down around them. 

Notwithstanding the bad weather, however, 
our hunters were not idle, but during the inter- 
vals of the rain sallied forth on horseback to 
prowl through the woodland. Every now and 
then the sharp report of a distant rifle boded the 
death of a deer. Venison in abundance was 
brought in. Some busied themselves under the 
sheds, flaying and cutting up the carcasses, or 
round the fires with spits and camp-kettles, and a 
rude kind of feasting, or rather gormandizing, 
prevailed throughout the camp. The axe was 
continually at work, and wearied the forest with 
its echoes. Crash ! some mighty tree would come 
down ; in a few minutes its limbs would be blaz- 
ing and crackling on the huge camp-fires, with 
some luckless deer roasting before it, that had 
once sported beneath its shade. 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 173 

The change of weather had taken sharp hold 
of our little Frenchman. His meagre frame, 
composed of bones and whip-cord, was racked 
with rheumatic pains and twinges. He had the 
toothache — the earache — his face was tied up 
— he had shooting pains in every limb ; yet all 
seemed but to increase his restless activity, and he 
was in an incessant fidget about the fire, roasting, 
and stewing, and groaning, and scolding, and 
swearing. 

Our man Beatte returned grim and mortified, 
from hunting. He had come upon a bear of for- 
midable dimensions, and wounded him with a rifle- 
shot The bear took to the brook, which was 
swollen and rapid. Beatte dashed in after him 
and assailed him in the rear with his hunting- 
knife. At every blow the bear turned furiously 
upon him, with a terrific display of white teeth. 
Beatte, having a foothold in the brook, was ena- 
bled to push him off with his rifle, and, when he 
turned to swim, would flounder after, and attempt 
to hamstring hioL The bear, however, succeeded 
in scrambling off among the thickets, and Beatte 
had to give up the chase. 

This adventure, if it produced no game, brought 
up at least several anecdotes, round the evening 
fire, relative to bear-hunting, in which the grizzly 
bear figured conspicuously. This powerful and 
ferocious animal is a favorite theme of hunter's 
story, both among red and white men ; and his 
enormous daws are worn round the neck of an 
Indian brave, as a trophy more honorable than a 
human scalp. He . is now scarcely seen below 



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174 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

the upper prairies, and the skirts of the Eocky 
Mountains. Other bears are formidable when 
wounded and provoked, but seldom make battle 
when allowed to escape. The grizzly bear alone, 
of all the animals of our Western wilds, is prone 
to unprovoked hostility. His prodigious size and 
strength make him a formidable opponent; and 
his great tenacity of life often baffles the skill of 
the hunter, notwithstanding repeated shots of the 
rifle and wounds of the hunting-knife. 

One of the anecdotes related on this occasion 
gave a picture of the accidents and hard shifts to 
which our frontier rovers are inured. A hunter, 
while in pursuit of a deer, fell into one of those 
deep ftmnel-shaped pits formed on the prairies 
by the settling of the waters after heavy rains, 
and known by the name of sink-holes. To his 
great horror he came in contact, at the bottom, 
with a huge grizzly bear. The monster grappled 
him ; a de^Ay contest ensued, in which the poor 
hunter was severely torn and bitten, and had a 
leg and an arm broken, but succeeded in killing 
his rugged foe. For several days he remained at 
the bottom of the pit, too much crippled to move, 
and subsisting on the raw flesh of the bear, dur- 
ing which time he kept his wounds open, that 
they might heal gradually and effectually. He 
was at length enabled to scramble to the top of 
the pit, and so out upon the open prairie. With 
great difficulty he crawled to a ravine formed by 
a stream then nearly dry. Here he took a deli- 
cious draught of water, which infused new life into 
him ; then dragging himself along from pool to 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES, 175 

pool, he supported himself by small fish and 
frogs. 

One day he saw a wolf hunt down and kill a 
deer in a neighboring prairie. He immediately 
crawled forth from the ravine, drove off the wolf, 
and, lying down beside the carcass of the deer, 
remained there until he made several hearty meals, 
by which his strength was much recruited. 

Returning to the ravine, he pursued the course 
of the brook, until it grew to be a considerable 
stream. Down this he floated, until he came to 
where it emptied into the Mississippi. Just at 
the mouth of the stream he found a forked tree, 
which he launched with some difficulty, and, get- 
ting astride of it, committed himself to the cur- 
rent of the mighty river. In this way he floated 
along until he arrived opposite the fort at Coun- 
cil Bluffs. Fortunately he arrived there in the 
daytime, otherwise he might have floated unno- 
ticed past this solitary post, and perished in the 
idle waste of waters. Being descried from the 
fort, a canoe was sent to his relief, and he was 
brought to shore, more dead than alive, where he 
soon recovered from his wounds, but remained 
maimed for life. 

Our man Beatte had come out of his contest 
with the bear very much worsted and discomfited. 
His drenching in the brook, together with the re- 
cent change of weather, had brought on rheumatic 
pains in his limbs, to which he is subject. Though 
ordinarily a fellow of undaunted spirit, and above 
all hardship, yet he now sat down by the fire, 
gloomy and dejected, and for once gave way to 
12 

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176 CRAYON MJSCELLANr. 

repining. Though in the prime of life, and of a 
robust frame and apparently iron constitution, 
yet by his own account he was little better than 
a mere wreck. He was, in fact, a living monu- 
ment of the hardships of wild frontier life. Bar- 
ing his left arm, he showed it warped and con- 
tracted by a former attack of rheumatism, — a 
malady with which the Indians are often afflicted, 
for their exposure to the vicissitudes of the ele- 
ments does not produce that perfect hardihood 
and insensibility to the changes of the seasons that 
many are apt to imagine. He bore the scars of 
various maims and bruises, some receiv^ in hunt- 
ing, some in Indian warfare. His right arm had 
been broken by a fall from his horse ; at another 
time his steed had fallen with him, and crushed 
his left leg. 

" I am all broke to pieces and good for noth- 
ing," said he ; '^ I no care now what happen to 
me any more." "However," added he, after a 
moment's pause, "for all that, it would take a 
pretty strong man to put me down, anyhow." 

I drew from him various particulars concem-^ 
ing himself, which served to raise him in my es- 
timation. His residence was on the Neosho, in 
an Osage hamlet or neighborhood, under the 
superintendence of a worthy missionary from the 
banks of the Hudson, by the name of Requa, 
who was endeavoring to instruct the savages in 
the art of agriculture, and to make husbandmen 
and herdsmen of them. I had visited this agri- 
cultural mission of Eequa in the course of my 
recent tour along the frontier, and had considered 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAmiES. 177 

it more likely to produce solid advantages to the 
poor Indians than any of the mere praying and 
preaching missions along the border. 

In this neighborhood, Pierre Beatte had his 
little farm, his Indian wife, and his half-breed 
ehildren, and aided Mr. Requa in his endeavors 
to civilize the habits and meliorate the condition 
of the Osage tribe. Beatte had been brought 
up a Catholic, and was inflexible in his religious 
ibith ; he oould not pray with Mr. Requa, he 
said, but he oould work with him, and he evinced 
a zeal for the good of his savage relations and 
neighbors. Indeed, though his &,ther had been 
French, and he himself had been brought up in 
communion with the whites, he evidently was 
more of an Indian in his tastes, and his heart 
yearned towards his mother's nation. When ha 
talked to me of the wrongs and insults that the 
poor Indians suffered in their intercourse with 
the rough settlers on the frontier, — when he de- 
scribed the precarious and degraded state of the 
Osage tribe, diminished in numbers, broken in 
spirit,, and almost living on sufiei'ance in the land 
where they once figured so heroically^ — I could 
see his veins swell, and his nostrils distend with 
indignation ; but he would check the feeling with 
a strong exertion of Indian self-command, and, in 
a manner, drive it back into his bosom. 

He did not hesitate to relate an instance 
wherein he had joined his kihdred Osages in 
pursuing and avenging themselves on a party of 
white men who had committed a flagrant outrage 
upon them ; and I found, in the encounter that 

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178 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

took place, Beatte had shown himself the com* 
plete Indian. 

He had more than once accompanied his Osage 
relations in their wars with the Pawnees, and 
related a skirmish which took place on the bor- 
ders of these very hunting - grounds, in which 
several Pawnees were killed. We should pass 
near the place, he said, in the course of our tour, 
and the unburied bones and skulls of the slain 
were still to be seen there. The surgeon of the 
troop, who was present at our conversation, 
pricked up his ears at this intelligence. He was 
something of a phrenologist, and offered Beatte 
a handsome reward if he would procure him one 
of the skulls. 

Beatte regarded him for a moment with a look 
of stem surprise. 

«No ! " said he at length, « dat too bad I I 
have heart strong enough — I no care kill, but 
Ut the dead alone ! ** 

He added, that once, in travelling with a party 
of white men, he had slept in the same tent with 
a doctor, and found that he had a Pawnee skull 
among his baggage : he at once renounced the 
doctor's tent, and his fellowship. " He try to 
coax me," said Beatte, " but I say no, we must 
part — I no keep such company." 

In the temporary depression of his spirits, 
Beatte gave way to those superstitious forebod- 
ings to which Indians are prone. He had sat for 
Bome time, with his cheek upon his hand, gazing 
into the fire. I found his thoughts were wander* 
ing back to his humble home, on the banks of 

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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 179 

the Neosho ; he was sure, he said, that he should 
find some one of his faimtj ill, or dead, on his 
return: his left eye had twitched and twinkled 
for two days past ; an omen which always boded 
some misfortune of the kind. 

Such are the trivial circumstances which, when 
magnified into omens, will shake the souls of these 
men of iron. The least sign of mystic and sin- 
ister portent is sufficient te turn a hunter or a 
warrior from his course, or to fiU his mind with 
apprehensions of impending eviL It is this su- 
perstitious propensity, common to the solitary 
and savage rovers of the wilderness, that gives 
such powerful influence to the prophet and the 
dreamer. 

The Osages, with whom Beatte had passed 
much of his life, retain these superstitious fan- 
cies and rites in much of their original force. 
They all believe in the existence of the soul after 
its separation fix)m the body, and that it carries 
with it all its mortal tastes and habitudes. At 
an Osage village in the neighborhood of Beatte, 
one of the chief warriors lost an only child, a 
beautiful girl, of a very tender age. All her 
playthings were buried with her. Her favorite 
little horse, also, was killed, and laid in the grave 
beside her, that she might have it to ride in the 
land of spirits. 

I will here add a little story, which I picked 
up in the course of my tour through Beatte's 
country, and which illustrates the superstitions 
of his Osage kindred. A large party of Osages 
had been encamped for some time on the borders 



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180 CBATON MISCELLANY. 

of a fine stream called ^e Nickananisa. Among 
them was a young hunter, one of the bravest and 
most graceful of the tribe, who was to be mar- 
ried to an Osage girl, who, fi>r her beauty, was 
called the Flower of the Prairies. The young 
hunter left her for a time among her relatives in 
the encampment, and went to St. Louis, to dis- 
pose of the products of his hunting, and purchase 
ornaments for his bride. After an absence of 
some weeks, he returned to the banks of the 
Nickanansa, but the camp was no longer there ; 
the bare frames of the lodges and the brands of 
extinguished fires alone marked the place. At a 
distance he beheld a female seated, as if weeping, 
by the side of the stream. It was his affianced 
bride. He ran to embrace her, but she turned 
mournfully away. He dreaded lest some evil 
had befallen the camp. 

" Where are our people ? ** cried he. 

"They are gone to the banks of the Wag- 
rushka." 

" And what art thou doing here alone ?" 

« Waiting for thee." 

" Then let us hasten to join our people on the 
banks of the Wagrushka." 

He gave her his pack to carry, and walked 
ahead, according to the Indian custom. 

They came to where the smoke of the distant 
camp was seen rising from the woody margin of 
the stream. The girl seated herself at the foot 
of a tree. '^ It is not proper for us to return 
together," said she ; " I will wait here." 

The young hunter proceeded to the camp alone, 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 181 

and was received by his relations witli gloomy 
ooonteuances. 

" What evil has happened," said he, " that ye 
are all so sad ? " 

No one replied. 

He turned to his favorite sister, and bade her 
go forth, seek his bride, and conduct her to the 
camp. 

" Alas ! " cried she, " how shall I seek her ? 
She died a few days since." 

The relations of the yoimg girl now surrounded 
him, weeping and wailing; but he refused to 
believe the dismal tidings. ^ But a few moments 
since," cried he, ^ I left her alone and in health ; 
come with me, and I will conduct you to her." 

He led the way to the tree where she had 
seated herself, but she was no longer there, and 
his pack lay on the ground. The fatal truth 
struck him to the heart ; he fell to the ground 
dead. 

I give this simple little story almost in the 
words in which it was related to me as I lay by 
the fire in an evening encampment on the banks 
of the haunted stream where it is said to have 
happened. 




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CHAPTER XXVm. 

▲ uoBXi izpsDonoir. — Dua'SLBAxiNa.— kagio balls. 

jlN the following morning we were re* 
joined bj the rangers who had remained 
at the last encampment, to seek for the 
stray horses. They had tracked them for a con- 
siderable distance through bush and brake, and 
across streams, until thej found them cropping 
the herbage on the edge of a prairie. Their 
heads were in the direction of the fort^ and they 
were evidently grazing their way homeward, 
heedless of the unbounded fi'eedom of the prai- 
rie so suddenly laid open to them. 

About noon the weather held up, and I ob- 
served a mysterious consultation going on between 
our half-breeds and Tonish ; it ended in a request 
that we would dispense with the services of the 
latter fpr a few hours, and permit him to join his 
comrades in a grand foray. We objected that 
Tonish was too much disabled by aches and pains 
for such an undertaking ; but he was wild with 
eagerness for the mysterious enterprise, and, when 
permission was given him, seemed to forget all 
his ailments in an instant. * 

In a short time the trio were equipped and oo 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 183 

horseback, with rifles on their shoulders and hand- 
kerchiefs' twisted round their heads, evidently 
bound for a grand scamper. As they passed by 
the different lodges of the camp, the vainglorious 
little Frenchman could not help boasting to the 
right and left of the great things he was about 
to achieve ; though the taciturn Beatte, who rode 
in advance, would every now and then check his 
horse, and look back at him with an air of stem 
rebuke. It was hard, however, to make the lo- 
quacious Tonish play " Indian." 

Several of the hunters, likewise, sallied forth, 
and the prime old woodman, Ryan, came back 
early in the afternoon, with ample spoil, having 
killed a buck and two fat does. I drew near to 
a group of rangers that had gathered round him 
as he stood by the spoil, and found they were 
discussing die merits of a stratagem sometimes 
used in deer-hunting. This consists in imitating, 
with a small instrument called a bleat, the cry 
of the fawn, so as to lure the doe within reach 
of the rifle. There are bleats of various kinds, 
suited to calm or windy weather, and to the age 
of the fawn. The poor animal, deluded by them, 
in its anxiety about its young, will sometimes 
advance close up to the hunter. ^' I once bleated 
a doe," said a young hunter, " until it came within 
twenty yards of me, and presented a sure mark. 
I levelled my rifle three times, but had not the 
heart to shoot, for the poor doe looked so wist- 
fully, that it in a manner made my heart yearn. 
I thought of my own mother, and how anxious 
she used to be about me when I w&s a child ; so. 



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184 CRAYON MI8CELLANY. 

to put an end to the matter, I gave a halloo, and 
started the doe out of rifle-shot in a moment." 

" And you did right," cried honest old Rjan. 
" For my part, I never could bring myself to 
bleating deer. I Ve been with himters who had 
bleats, and have made them throw them away. 
It is a rascally trick to take advantage of a 
mother's love for her young." 

Towards evening, our three worthies returned 
from their mysterious foray. The tongue of Ton- 
ish gave notice of their approach long before they 
came in sight ; for he was vociferating at the top 
of his lungs, and rousing the attention of the 
whole camp. The lag^g gait and reeking flanks 
of their horses gave evidence of hard riding ; and, 
on nearer approach, we found them hung round 
with meat, like a butcher's shambles. In fact 
they had been scouring an immense prairie that 
extended beyond the forest, and which was cov- 
ered with herds of buffalo. Of this prairie, and 
the animals upon it, Beatte had received intelli- 
gence a few days before, in his conversation with 
the Osages, .but had kept the information a secret 
from the rangers, that he and his comrades might 
have the first dash at the game. They had con- 
tented themselves with killing four; though, if 
Tonish might be believed, they might have slain 
them by scores. 

These tidings, and the buffalo-meat brought 
home in evidence, spread exultation through the 
camp, and every one looked forward with joy to 
a buffalo-hunt on the prairies. Tonish was again 
the oracle of the camp, and held forth by the hour 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIEB, 185 

to a knot af listeners, crouched round the fire, 
with their shoulders up to their ears. He was 
now more boastful than ever of his skill as a 
marksman. All his want of success in the early 
part of our march he attributed to being " out of 
luck " if not " spell-bound " ; and finding himself 
listened to with apparent credulity, gave an in- 
stance of the kind, which he declared had hap- 
pened to himself, but which was evidently a tale 
picked up among his relations, the Osages. 

According to this account, when about fourteen 
years of age, as he was one day hunting, he saw 
a white deer come out from a ravine. Crawling 
near to get a shot, he beheld another and another 
come forth, until there were seven, all as white as 
snow. Having crept sufficiently near, he singled 
one out and fired, but without efiect ; the deer 
remained unfrightened. He loaded -and fired 
again, and again he missed. Thus he continued 
firing and missing until all his ammunition was 
expended, and the deer remained without a wound. 
He returned home despairing of his skill as a 
marksman, but was consoled by an old Osage 
hunter. These white deer, said he, have a 
charmed life, and can only be killed by bullets of 
a particular kind. 

The old Indian cast several balb for Tonish, 
but would not suffer him to be present on the oc- 
casion, n(H* inform him of the ingredients and 
mystic ceremonials. 

Provided with these balb, Tonish again set 
out in quest of the white deer, and succeeded in 
Ending them. He tried at first with ordinary 



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186 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

balls, but missed as before. A magic ball, how* 
ever, immediately brought a fine buck to the 
ground. Whereupon the rest of the herd imme- 
diately disappeared, and were never seen again. 

Oct 29. The morning opened gloomy and 
lowering ; but towards eight o'clock the sun strug- 
gled forth and lighted up the forest, and the notes 
of the bugle gave signal to prepare for marching. 
Now began a scene of bustle, and clamor, and 
gayety. Some were scampering and brawling 
after their horses; some were riding in bare- 
backed, and driving in the horses of their com- 
rades. Some were stripping the poles of the wet 
blankets that had served for shelters ; others 
packing up with all possible dispatch, and loading 
the baggage horses as they arrived, while others 
were cracking off their damp rifles and charging 
them afresh, to be ready for the sport. 

About ten o'clock we began our march. I 
loitered in the rear of the troop as it forded the 
turbid brook and defiled through the labyrinths of 
the forest I always felt disposed to linger until 
the last straggler disappeared among the trees, 
and the distant note of the bugle died upon the 
ear, that I might behold the wilderness relapsing 
into silence and solitude. In the present instance, 
the deserted scene of our late bustling encampment 
had a forlorn and desolate appearance. The sur- 
rounding forest had been in many places tram- 
pled into a quagmire. Trees felled and partly 
hewn in pieces, and scattered in huge fragments ; 
tent-poles stripped of their covering ; smouldering 
fires, with great morsels of roasted venison and 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES, 187 

buffalo-meat, standing in wooden spits before thorn, 
hacked and slashed hy the knives of hungry hunt- 
ers; while around were strewed the hides, the 
horns, Jhe antlers and bones of buffaloes and deer, 
with uncooked joints, and unplucked turkeys, left 
behind with that reckless improvidence and waste- 
fulness which young hunters are apt to indulge 
when in a neighborhood where game abounds. 
In the mean time a score or two of turkey-buz- 
zards, or vultures, were already on the wing, 
wheeling their magnificent flight high in the air, 
and preparing for a descent upon the camp as sooo 
as it should be abandoned. 




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CHAPTER XXIX. 



THB OKAKD P&AIBIB.'<-A BUVFiXO BUNT. 




[FTER proceeding about two hours in a 
southerly direction, we emerged towards 
mid-day from the dreary belt of the 
Cross Timber, and to our infinite delight beheld 
" the great Prairie," stretching to the right and 
left before us. We could distinctly trace the 
meandering course of the Main Canadian, and 
various smaller streams, by the strips of green 
forest that bordered them. The landscape was 
vast and beautiM. There is always an expan- 
sion of feeling in looking upon these boundless 
and fertile wastes; but I was doubly conscious 
of it after emerging from our ^ dose dungeon of 
innumerous boughs." 

From a rising ground Beatte pointed out the 
place where he and his comrades had killed the 
buffaloes; and we beheld several black objects 
moving in the distance, which he said were 
part of the herd. The Captain determined to 
shape his course to a woody bottom about a mile 
distant, and to encamp there for a day or two, by 
way of having a regular buffalo-hunt, and getting 
a supply of provisions. As the troop defiled 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 189 

along the slope of the hill towards the camping- 
ground, Beatte proposed to my messmates and my- 
self, that we should put ourselves under his guid- 
ance, promising to take us where we should have 
plenty of sport Leaving the line of march 
therefore, we diverged towards the prairie ; trav- 
ersing a small valley, and ascending a gentle swell 
of land. As we reached the summit, we beheld a 
gang of wild horses about a mile off. Beatte was 
immediately on the alert, and no longer thought 
of buffalo-hunting. He was mounted on his 
powerful half-wild horse, with a lariat coiled at 
the saddle - bow, and set off in pursuit ; while 
we remained on a rising ground watching his 
manoeuvres with great solicitude. Taking advan- 
tage of a strip of woodland, he stole quietly along, 
so aa to get close to them before he was per- 
ceived. The moment they caught sight of him a 
grand scamper took place. We watched him 
skirting along the horizon like a privateer in full 
chase of a merchantman ; at length he passed 
over the brow of a ridge, and down into a shallow 
valley; in a few moments he was on the opposite 
hill, and dose upon one of the horses. He was 
soon head and head, and appeared to be trying to 
noose his prey ; but they both disappeared again 
below the hill, and we saw no more of them. It 
turned out afterwards that he had noosed a pow- 
erful horse, but could not hold him, and had lost 
his lariat in the attempt 

While we were waiting for his return, we per- 
ceived two buffisdo bulls descending a slope, to- 
wards a stream, which wound through a ravine 

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190 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

fringed with trees. The young Count and myself 
endeavored to get near them under covert of the 
trees. They discovered us while we were yet 
three or four hundred yards off, and turning about, 
retreated up the rising ground. We urged our 
horses across the ravine, and gave chase. The 
immense weight of head and shoulders causes the 
buffalo to labor heavily up-hiU ; but it accelerates 
his descent We had the advantage, therefore, 
and gained rapidly upon the fugitives, though it 
was difficult to get our horses to approach them, 
their very scent inspiring them with terror. The 
Count) who had a double-barrelled gun loaded 
with ball, fired, but it missed. The bulls now 
altered their course, and galloped down-hill with 
headlong rapidity. As they ran in different 
directions, we each singled one and separated. I 
was provided with a brace of veteran brass-bar- 
relled pistols, which I had borrowed at Fort Gib- 
son, and which had evidently seen some service. 
Pistols are very effective in buffalo-hunting, as 
the hunter can ride up close to the animal, and 
fire at it while at full speed ; whereas the long 
heavy rifles used on the frontier, cannot be easily 
managed, nor discharged with accurate aim from 
horseback. My object, therefore, was to get 
withm pistol-shot of the buffalo. This was no 
very easy matter. I was well mounted on a 
horse of excellent speed and bottom, that seemed 
eager for the chase, and soon overtook the game ; 
but the moment he came nearly parallel, he 
would keep sheering off, with ears forked and 
pricked forward^ and every symptom of aversion 



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A TOUR ON TSE PEAIBIE8. 191 

and alarm. It was no wonder. Of all animals, a 
buffalo, when dose pressed by the hunter, has an 
aspect the most diabolical. His two short black 
horns curve out of a huge frontlet of shaggy hair ; 
his eyes glow like coals ; his mouth ia open, his 
tongue parched and drawn np into a half crescent ; 
his tail is erect, and tufted and whisking about 
in the air : he is a perfect picture of mingled rage 
and terror. 

It was with diflculty I urged my horse suffi- 
ciently near, when, taking aim, to my chagrin 
both pistols missed fire. Unfortunately the locks 
of these veteran weapons were so much worn, that 
in the gallop the priming had been shaken out of 
the pans. At the snapping of the last pistol I was 
ck)8e upon the buffalo, when, in his despair, he 
turned round with a sudden snort, and rushed 
upon me. My horse wheeled about as if on a 
pivot, made a convulsive spring, and, as I had 
been leaning on one side with pistol extended, I 
came near being thrown at the feet of the buffalo. 

Three or four bounds of the horse carried us 
out of the reach of the enemy, who, having merely 
turned in desperate self-defence, quickly resumed 
his flight As soon as I could gather in my panic- 
stricken horse, and prime the pistols afresh, I 
again spurred in pursuit of the buffalo, who 
had sladcened his speed to take breath. On my 
approach he again set off full tilt, heaving him- 
self forward with a heavy rolling gallop, dashing 
with headlong precipitation through brakes and 
ravines, while several deer and wolves, startled 
from their coverts by his thundering career, ran 
helter-skelter to right and left across the waste* 

13 

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198 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

A gftUop across the prairies in pursuit of game 
is bj no means so smooth a career as those may 
imagine who have only the idea of an open level 
plain. It is true, the prairies of the hunting- 
ground are not so much entangled with flowering 
plants and long herbage as the lower prairies, and 
are principally covered with short buffalo^ass ; 
but they are diversified by hill and dale, and 
where most level, are apt to be cut up by deep 
rifts and ravines, made by torrents after rains; 
and which^ yawning &om an even sur&ce, are 
almost like pitfalls in the way of the hunter, 
checking him suddenly when in full career, or 
subjecting him to the risk of limb and life. The 
plains, too, are beset by burrowing-holes of small 
animals, in which the horse is apt to sink to 
the fetlock, and throw both himself and his rider. 
The late rain had covered some parts of the prai- 
rie, where the ground was hard, with a thin sheet 
of water, through which the horse had to splash 
his way. In other parts there were innumerable 
shallow hollows, eight or ten feet in diameter, 
made by the buffaloes, who wallow in sand and 
mud like swine. These being filled with water, 
shone like mirrors, so that the horse was continu- 
ally leaping over them or springing on one side. 
We had reached, too, a rough part of the prairie, 
very much broken and cut up ; the buffalo, who 
was running for life, took no heed to his course, 
plunging down break-neck ravines, whero it was 
necessary to skirt the borders in search of a safer 
descent. At length we came to where a winter 
stream had torn a deep chasm across the whole 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAlRIEa, 198 

prairie, leaTing open jagged rocks, and forming 
a long glen bordered by steep crumbling cliffs of 
mingled stone and clay. Down one of these the 
buffalo flung himself, half tumbling, half leaping, 
and then scuttled along the bottom ; while I, see- 
ing all further pursuit useless, pulled up, and 
gazed quietly after him from the border of the 
diff, until he disappeared amidst the windings of 
the rayine. 

Nothing now remained bat to turn my steed 
and reji^n my companions. Here at first was 
some little difficulty. The ardor of the chase had 
betrayed me into a long, heedless gallop. I now 
found myself in the midst of a lonely waste, in 
which the prospect was bounded by undulating 
swells of land, naked and uniform, where, from 
the deficiency of landmarks and distinct features, 
an inexperienced man may become bewildered, 
and lose his way as readily as in the wastes of 
the ocean. The day, too, was overcast, so that I 
could not guide myself by the sun ; my only 
mode was to retrace the track my horse had 
made in coming, though this I would oflen lose 
sight of, where the ground was covered with 
parched herbage. 

To one unaccustomed to it, there is something 
inexpressibly lonely in the solitude of a prairie. 
The loneliness of a forest seems nothing to it 
There the view is shut in by trees, and the im- 
agination is left free to picture some livelier 
scene beyond. But here we have an immense 
extent of landscape without a sign of human ex- 
istence. We have the consciousness of being far. 

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194 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

for beyond the bounds of human habitation ; we 
feel as if moving in the midst of a desert world. 
As my horse lagged slowly back over the scenes 
of our late scamper, and the delirium of the chase 
had passed away, I was peculiarly sensible to 
these circumstances. The silence of the waste 
was now and then broken by the cry of a dis- 
tant flock of pelicans, stalking like spectres about 
a shallow pool ; sometimes by the sinister croak- 
ing of a raven in the air, while occasionally a 
scoundrel wolf would scour off from before me, 
and, having attained a safe distance, would sit 
down and howl and whine with tones that gave 
a dreariness to the surrounding solitude. 

After pursuing my way for some time, I de? 
scried a horseman on the edge of a distant hill, 
and soon recognized him to be the Coimt. He 
bad been 'equally unsuccessfiil with myself ; we 
were shortly after rejoined by our worthy conuude, 
the Virtuoso, who, with spectacles on nose, had 
made two or three ineffectual shots from horse- 
back. 

We determined not to seek the camp until we 
had made one more effort. Casting our eyes about 
the surrounding waste, we descried a herd of 
buffalo about two miles distant, scattered apart, 
and quietly grazing near a small strip of trees 
and bushes. It required but little stretch of 
&ncy to picture them so many cattle grazing on 
the edge of a common, and that the grove might 
shelter some lowly farm-house. 

We now formed our plan to circumvent the 
herd, and by getting on the other side of them, to 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES, 195 

hunt them in the direction where we knew our 
camp to be situated : otherwise, the pursuit might 
take us to such a distance as to render it impos- 
sible to find our way back before nightfalL Tak- 
ing a wide circuit therefore, we moved slowly and 
cautiously, pausing occasionally when we saw 
any of the herd desist from grazing. The wind 
fortunately set from them, otherwise they might 
have scented us and have taken the alarm. In 
this way we succeeded in getting round the herd 
without disturbing it It consisted of about forty 
head ; bulls, cows, and calves. Separating to some 
distance from each other, we now approached 
slowly in a parallel line, hoping by degrees to 
steal near without exciting attention. They 
began, however, to move off quietly, stopping at 
every step or two to graze, when suddenly a bull, 
that, unobserved by us, had been taking his siesta 
under a clump of trees to our left, roused himself 
from his lair, and hastened to join his companions. 
We were still at a considerable distance, but the 
game had taken the alarm. We quickened our 
pace, they broke into a gallop, and now com- 
menced a full chase. 

As the ground was level, they shouldered along 
with great speed, following each other in a line ; 
two or three buUs bringing up the rear, the last 
of whom, from his enormous size and venerable 
frontlet, and beard of sunburnt hair, looked like 
the patriarch of the herd, and as if he might long 
have reigned the monarch of the prairie. 

There is a mixture of the awfrd and the oomio 
in the look of these huge animals, as they bear 



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196 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

their great bulk forwards^ with an up and down 
motion of the unwieldy head and shoulders, their 
tail cocked up like the cue of Pantaloon in a pan- 
tomime, the end whisking about in a fierce yet 
whimsical style, and their eyes glaring venomously 
with an expression of fright and fury. 

For some time I kept parallel with the line, 
without beiDg able to force my horse within pistol- 
shot, so much had he been alarmed by the assault 
of the buffalo in the preceding chase. At length 
I succeeded, but was again balked by my pistols 
missing fire. My companions, whose horses were 
less fleet and more wayworn, could not overtake 
the herd ; at length Mr. L., who was in the rear 
k£ the line, and losing ground, levelled his double- 
barrelled gun, and fired a long raking shot. It 
struck a buffalo just above the loins, broke its 
backbone, and brought it to the ground. He 
stopped and alighted to dispatch his prey, when, 
borrowing his gun, which had yet a charge re- 
maining in it, I put my horse to his speed, again 
overtook the herd which was thundering along, 
pursued by the Count With my present weapon 
there was no need of urging my horse to such 
dose quarters ; galloping ^ong parallel, therefore, 
I singled out a buffalo^ and by a fortunate shot 
brought it down on the spot. The ball had 
struck a vital part ; it could not move from the 
place where it fell, but lay there struggling in 
mortal agony, while the rest of the herd kept on 
their headlong career across the prairie. 

Dismounting, I now fettered my horse to pre- 
vent his straying, and advanced to contemplate 



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A TOUR ON TEE PRAIRIES. 197 

ttij yictim. I am nothing of a sportsman ; I had 
been prompted to this unwonted exploit by the 
magnitude of the game and the excitement of an 
adventurous chase. Now that the excitement 
was over, I could not but look with commiseration 
upon the poor animal that lay struggling and 
bleeding at my feet. His very size and impor- 
tance, which had before inspired me with eager- 
ness, now increased my compunction. It seemed 
as if I had inflicted pain in proportion to the bulk 
of my victim, and as if there were a hundred- 
fold greater waste of life than there would have 
been in the destruction of an animal of inferior 
size. 

To add to these after-qualms of conscience, the ' 
poor animal lingered in his agony. He had evi- 
dently received a mortal wound, but death might 
be long in commg. It would not do to leave 
him here to be torn piecemeal, while yet alive, 
by the wolves that had already snuffed his blood, 
and were skulking and howling at a distance, and 
waiting for my departure; and by the ravens 
that were flapping about, croaking dismally in the 
air. It became now an act of mercy to give him 
his quietus, and put him out of his misery. I 
primed one of the pistols, therefore, and advanced 
close up to the buffalo. To inflict a wound thus 
in cold blood, I found a totally different thing 
from firing in the heat of the chase. Taking aim^ 
however, just behind the fore-shoulder, my pistol 
for once proved true ; the ball must have passed 
through the heart, for the animal gave one con- 
vulsive throe and expired. 



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198 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

While I stood meditating and moralizing over 
the wreck I had so wantonly produced, with my 
horse grazing near me, I was rejoined by my fel- 
low-sportsman the Virtuoso, who, being a man of 
miiversal adroitness, and withal more experienced 
and hardened in the gentle art of " venerie," soon 
managed to carve out the tongue of the bufiPalo, 
and delivered it to me to bear back to the camp 
ad a trophy. 




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CHAPTER XXX. 

A OOKKASII LOST.— A SKA&OH POB THB OAIIP.— THX OOMMISnOnS, 
THE WILD HORSE, AND THE BU7FAL0. —A WOLF SEKBNADB. 




pUR solicitude was now awakened for the 
young Count. With his usual eager- 
ness and impetuosity he had persisted 
in urging his jaded horse in pursuit of the herd, 
unwilling to return without having likewise killed 
a bufialo. In this way he had kept on following 
them, hither and thither, and occasionally firing 
an ineffectual shot, until by degrees horseman and 
herd became indistinct in the distance, and at 
length swelling ground and strips of trees and 
thickets hid them entirely from sight 

By the time my friend, the amateur, joined 
me, the young Count had been long lost to view. 
We held a consultation on the matter. Evening 
was drawing on. Were we to pursue him, it 
would be dark before we should overtake him, 
granting we did not entirely lose trace of him in 
the gloom. We should then be too much bewil- 
dered to find our way back to the encampment ; 
even now, our return would be difficult. We de- 
termined, therefore, to hasten to the camp as 
speedily as possible, and send out our half-breeds, 
and some of the veteran hunters skilled in cruis 



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200 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

ing about the prairies, to search for our com{MUi- 
ion. 

We accordingly set forward in what we sup- 
posed to be the directioh of the camp. Our 
weary horses could hardly be urged beyond a 
walk. The twilight thickened upon us ; the land- 
scape grew gradually indistinct ; we tried in vain 
to recognize various landmarks which we had 
noted in the morning. The features of the prai- 
ries ai*e so similar as to baffle the eye of any but 
an Indian, or a practised woodman. At length 
night closed in. We hoped to see the dbtant 
glare of camp-fires ; we listened to catch the 
sound of the beUs about the necks of the grazing 
horses. Once or twice we thought we distin- 
guished them ; we were mistaken. Nothing was 
to be heard but a monotonous concert of insects, 
with now and then the dismal howl of wolves 
mingling with the night breeze. We began to 
think of halting for the night, and bivouacking 
under the lee of some thicket. We had imple- 
ments to strike a light ; there was plenty of fire- 
wood at hand, and the tongues of our buffaloes 
would furnish us with a repast 

Just as we were preparing to dismount, we 
heard the report of a rifle, and, shortly after, the 
notes of the bugle, calling up the night-guard. 
Pushing forward in that direction, the camp-fires 
soon broke on our sight, gleaming at a distance 
from among the thick groves of an alluvial bot- 
tom. 

As we entered the camp, we found it a scene 
of rude hunters' revelry and wassaiL There had 



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A TOUR 02f THE PRAIRIES, 201 

been a grand day's sport, in which all had taken 
a part Eight buffaloes had been killed ; roaring 
fires were blazing on every side ; all hands were 
feasting upon roasted joints, broiled marrow-bones, 
and the juicy hump, far-famed among the epicures 
of the prairies. Right glad were we to dismount 
and partake of the sturdy cheer, for we had been 
on. our weary horses since morning, without tast- 
ing food. 

Aa to our worthy friend, the Commissioner, with 
whom we had parted company at the outset of 
this eventful day, we found him lying in a comer 
of the tent, mudi the worse for wear, in the course 
of a successful hunting-match. 

It seems that our man Beatte, in his zeal to 
give the Commissioner an opportunity of distin- 
guishing himself, and gratifying his hunting pro- 
pensities, had mounted him upon his half-wild 
horse, and started him in pursuit of a huge buf- 
falo bull that had already been frightened by the 
hunters. The horse, which was fearless as his 
owner, and, like him, had a considerable spice of 
devil in his composition, and who, beside, had 
been made familiar with the game, no sooner came 
in sight and scent of the buffalo than he set off 
full speed, bearing the involuntary hunter hither 
and thither, and whither he would not — up-hill 
and down-hill — leaping pools and brooks — dash- 
ing through glens and guUies, until he came up 
with the game. Instead of sheering off, he 
crowded upon the buffalo. The Commissioner, 
almost in self-defence, discha]:ged both barrels of 
a double-barrelled gun into the enemy. The 



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202 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

» ^^ 

broadside took effect, but was not mortal. The 
buffalo turned furiously upon his pursuer: the 
horse, as he had been taught by his owner, 
wheeled off. The buffalo plunged after him. 
The worthy Commissioner, in great extremity, 
drew his sole pistol from his holster, fired it off 
as a stem -chaser, shot the buffalo full in the 
breast^ and brought him lumbering forward to the 
earth. 

The Commissioner returned to camp, lauded on 
all sides for his signal exploit^ but grievously 
battered and wayworn. He had been a hard 
rider per force, and a victor in spite of himself. 
He turned a deaf ear to all compliments and con- 
gratulations, had but little stomadh for the hunt- 
er's &re placed before him, and soon retreated 
to stretch his limbs in the tent^ declaring that 
nothing should tempt him again to mount that 
half-devil Indian horse, and that he had enough 
of buffalo hunting for the rest of his life. 

It was too dark now to send any one in search 
of the young Count. Guns, however, were fired, 
and the bugle sounded from time to time, to guide 
him to the camp, if by chance he should straggle 
within hearing ; but the night advanced without 
his making his appearance. There was not a star 
visible to guide him, and we concluded that, where- 
ever he was, he would give up wandering in the 
dark, and bivouac until daybreak. 

It was a raw, overcast night The carcasses 
of the buffaloes killed in the vicinity of the camp 
had drawn about it an unusual number of wolves, 
who kept up the most forlorn concert of whining 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 203 

yells, prolonged into dismal cadences and inflex- 
ions, literally converting the surroundiiig waste 
into a howling wilderness. Nothing Ls more mel- 
ancholy than the midnight howl of a wolf on a 
prairie. What rendered the gloom and wildncss 
of the night and the savage concert of the neigh- 
boring waste the more dreary to us, was the idea 
of the lonely and exposed situation of our young 
and inexperienced comrade. We trusted, how- 
ever, that on the return of daylight he would find 
his way back to the camp, and then all the events 
of the night would be remembered only as so 
many savory gratifications of his passion for ad- 
venture. 



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CHAPTER XXXL 



A HUNT FOB A LOST COM&ADK. 




lELE morning dawned, and an hour or 
two passed without any tidings of the 
Count. We hegan to feel uneasiness^ 
lest, having no compass to aid him, he might per- 
plex himself and wander in some opposite direc- 
tion. Stragglers are thus often lost for days. 
What made us the more anxious about him was, 
that he had no provisions with him, was totally 
unversed in " wood-craft," and liable to fall into 
the hands of some lurking or straggling party of 
savages. 

As soon as our people, therefore, had made 
their breakfast, we beat up for volunteers for a 
cruise in search of the G)unt. A dozen of the 
rangers, mounted on some of the best and freshest 
horses, and armed with rifles, were soon ready to 
start ; our half-breeds Beatte and Antoine also, 
with our little mongrel Frenchman, were zealous 
in the cause ; so Mr. L. and myself taking the 
lead, to show the way to the scene of our little 
hunt, where we had parted company with the 
Count, we all set out across the prairie. A ride 
of a couple of miles brought us to the carcasses 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIEB, 205 

of the two buffaloes we had killed. A legiou of 
ravenous wolves were already gorging upon them. 
At our approach they reluctantly drew off, skulk- 
ing with a caitiff look to the distance of a few 
hundred yards^ and there awaiting our departure, 
that they might return to their banquet. 

I conducted Beatte and Antoine to the spot 
whence the young Count had continued the chase 
alone. It was like putting hounds upon the 
scent They immediately distinguished the track 
of his horse amidst the trampings of the bu£^oes, 
and set off at a round pace, following with the 
eye in nearly a straight course, for upwards of a 
mile, when they came to where the herd had di- 
vided and run hither and thither about a meadow. 
Here the track of the horse's hoofs wandered and 
doubled and often crossed each other ; our half- 
breeds were like hounds at fiiult. While we were 
%t a halt, waiting until they should unravel the 
maze, Beatte suddenly gave a short Indian whoop, 
or rather yelp, and pointed to a distant hill. On 
T^arding it attentively, we perceived a horseman 
on the summit " It is the Count ! " cried Beatte, 
and set off at full gallop, followed by the whole 
company. In a few moments he checked his 
horse. Another figure on horseback had appeared 
on the brow of the hill. This completely altered 
the case. The Count had wandered off alone ; 
no other person had been missing fix)m the camp. 
If one of these horsemen were indeed the County 
the other must be an Indian ; if an Indian, in 
all probability a Pawnee. Perhaps they were 
bolli Indians ; scouts of some party lurking in the 



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206 CBATON MISCELLANY. 

vicmitj. While these and other suggestions were 
hastily discussed, the two horsemen glided down 
from tUb profile of the hill, and we lost sight of 
them. One of the rangers suggested that there 
might be a straggling party of Pawnees behind 
the hill, and that the Count might have fallen into 
their hands. The idea had an electric effect upon 
the little troop. In an instant every horse was 
at full speed, the half-breeds leading the way; 
the young rangers as they rode set up wild yelps 
of exultation at the thought of having a brush 
with the Indians. A neck - or - nothing gallop 
brought us to the skirts of the hill, and revealed 
our mistake. In a ravine we found the two 
horsemen standing by the carcass of a buffalo 
which they had killed. They proved to be two 
rangers, who, unperceived, had left the camp a 
little before us, and had come here in a direct 
line, wbjle we had made a wide circuit about the 
prairie. 

This episode being at an end, and the sudden 
excitement being over, we slowly and coolly re- 
traced our steps to the meadow, but it was some 
time before our half-breeds could again get on 
the. track of the Count. Having at length found 
it, they succeeded in following it through all its 
doublings, until they came to where it was no 
longer mingled with the tramp of buffaloes, but 
became single and separate, wandering here and 
there about the prairies, but always tending in a 
direction opposite to that of the camp. Here the 
Count had evidently given up the pursuit of the 
herd, and had endeavored to find his way to the 



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A TOUR ON TEE PRAIRIES. 207 

encampment, but had become bewildered as the 
evening shades thickened around him, and had 
completely mistaken the points of the compass. 

In all this quest our half-breeds displayed that 
quickness of eye, in following up a track, for 
which Indians are so noted. Beatte, especially, 
was as stanch as a veteran hound. Sometimes 
he would keep forwai'd on an easy trot, his eyes 
fixed on the ground a little ahead of his horse, 
clearly distinguishing prints in the herbage which 
to me were invisible, excepting on the closest in- 
spection. Sometimes he would pull up and walk 
his horse slowly, regarding the ground intensely, 
where to my eye nothing was apparent. Then 
he would dismount, lead his horse by the bridle, 
and advance cautiously step by step, with his face 
bent towards the earth, just catching, here and 
there, a casual indication of the vaguest kind to 
guide him onward. In some places where the 
soil was hard, and the grass withered, he would 
lose the track entirely, and wander backwards 
and forwards, and right and left, in search of it ; 
returning occasionally to the place where he had • 
lost sight of it, to take a new departure. If this 
failed, he would examine the banks of the neigh- 
boring streams, or the sandy bottoms of the 
ravines, in hopes of finding tracks where the 
Count had crossed. When he again cume upon 
the track, he would remount his horse, and re- 
sume his onward course. At length, after cross- 
ing a stream, in the crumbling banks of which 
the hoofe of the horse were deeply dented, we 
came upon a high dry prairie, where our half- 
14 

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208 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

breeds were completely baffled. Not a footprint 
was ta be discerned, though they searched in 
every direction ; and Beatte at len^h coming to 
a pause, shook his head despondingly. 

Just then a small herd of deer, roused from a 
neighboring ravine, came bounding by us. Beatte 
sprang fix)m his horse, levelled his rifle, and 
wounded one slightly, but without bringing it to 
the ground. The report of the rifle was almost 
immediately followed by a long halloo from a dis- 
tance. We looked around, but could see nothing. 
Another long halloo was heard, and at length a 
horseman was descried, emerging out of a skirt 
of forest. A single glance showed him to be the 
young Count ; there was a universal shout and 
scamper, every one setting oflf full gallop to greet 
him. It was a joyful meeting to both parties, 
for much anxiety had been felt by us all on ac- 
count of his youth and inexperience, and for his 
part, with all his love of adventure, he seemed 
right glad to be once more among his friends. 

As we supposed, he had completely mistaken 
•his course on the preceding evening, and had 
wandered about until dark, when he thought of 
bivouacking. The night was cold, yet he feared 
to make a fire, lest it might betray him to some 
lurking party of Indians. Hobbling his horse 
with his pocket-handkerchief, and leaving him to 
graze on the margin of the prairie, he clambered 
into a tree, fixed his saddle in the fork of the 
branches, and placing himself securely with his 
back against the trunk, prepared to pass a drearf- 
and anxious night, regaled occasionally with the 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAJRIEB. 209 

howliBgs of the wolves. He was agreeably dis- 
appointed. The fatigue of the day soon brought 
on a sound sleep ; he had delightful dreams about 
his home in Switzerland ; nor did he wake until 
it was broad daylight. 

He then descended from his roosting - place, 
mounted his horse, and rode to the naked sum- 
mit of a hill, whence he beheld a trackless wil- 
derness around him, but, at no great distance, the 
N Grand Canadian, winding its way between bor- 
ders of forest land. The sight of this river con- 
soled him with the idea that, should he fiul in 
finding his way back to the camp, or in being 
found by some party of his comrades, he might 
follow the course of the stream, which could not 
fail to conduct him to some frontier post, or In- 
dian hamlet. So closed the events of our hap- 
hazard buffalo hunt. 




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CHAPTER XXXn. 

A RKPUBUO OP P&AXBIE-SOC^S. 

jjN returning from our expedition in quest 
of the young Count, I learned that a 
buiTow, or village, as it is termed, of 
prairie-dogs had been discovered on the level 
summit of a hill, about a mile from the camp. 
Having heard much of the habits and peculiari- 
ties of these little animals, I determined to pay a 
visit to the community. The prairie-dog is, in 
fact, one of the curiosities of the Far West, 
about which travellers delight to tell marvellous 
tales, endowing him at times with something of 
the politic and social habits of a rational being, 
and giving him systems of civil government and 
domestic economy almost equal to what they used 
to bestow upon the beaver. 

The prairie-dog is an animal of the coney 
kind, and about the size of a rabbit He is of a 
sprightly mercurial nature ; quick, sensitive, and 
somewhat petulant He is very gregarious, liv- 
ing in large communities, sometimes of several 
acres in extent, where innumerable little heaps 
of earth show the entrances to the subterranean 
cells of the inhabitants, and the well beaten 
tracks, like lanes and streets, show their mobility 

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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIEa. 211 

and restlessness. According to the accounts 
given of them, they would seem to be continually 
ftdl of sport, business, and public affairs ; whisk- 
ing about hither and thither, as if on gossiping 
visits to each other's houses, or congregating in 
the cool of the evening, or after a shower, and 
gambolling together in the open air. Sometimes 
especially when the moon shines, they pass half 
the night in revelry, barking or yelping with 
short, quick, yet weak tones, like those of very 
young puppies. While in the height of their 
playfulness and clamor, however, should there bo 
the least alarm, they all vanish into their cells in 
an instant, and the village remains blank and 
silent In case they are hard pressed by their 
pursuers, without any hope of escape, they will 
assume a pugnacious air, and a most whimsical 
look of impotent wrath and defiance. 

The prairie-dogs are not permitted to remain 
sole and undisturbed inhabitants of their own 
homes. Owls and rattlesnakes are said to take 
up their abodes with them ; but whether as in- 
vited guests or unwelcome intruders, is a matter 
of controversy. The owls are of a peculiar kind, 
and would seem to partake of the character of 
the hawk ; for they are taller and more erect on 
their legs, more alert in their looks and rapid in 
their flight than ordinary owls, and do not confine 
their excursions to the night, but sally forth in 
broad day. 

Some say that they only inhabit cells which 
the prairie-dogs have deserted, and suffered to go 
to ruin, in consequence of the death in them of 



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21S CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

some rektive ; for they would make ont this little 
animal to be endowed with keen sensibilities, that 
will not permit it to remain in the dwelling where 
it has witnessed the death of a friend. Other 
fandfal speculators represent the owl as a kind 
of housekeeper to the prairie - dog ; and, from 
having a note very similar, insinuate that it aets^ 
in a manner, as family preceptor, and teaches the 
young litter to bark. 

As to the rattlesnake, nothing satisfactory has 
been ascertained of the part he plays in this most 
interesting household, though he is considered as 
little better than a sycophant and sharper, that 
winds himself into the concerns of the honest, 
credulous little dog, and takes him in most sadly. 
Certain it is, if he acts as toad-eater, he occa- 
sionally solaces himself with more than the usual 
perquisites of his order, as he is now and then 
detected with one of the younger members of the 
family in his maw. 

Such are a few of the particulars that I could 
gather about the domestic economy of this little 
inhabitant of the prairies, who, with his pigmy 
republic, appears to be a subject of much whim- 
sical speculation and burlesque remarks, among 
the hunters of the Far West. 

It Was towards evening that I set out with a 
companion, to visit the village in question. Un- 
luckily, it liad been invaded in the course of the 
day by some of the rangers, who had shot two 
or three of its inhabitants, and thrown the whole 
sensitive community in confusion. As we ap- 
proached, we could perceive numbers of the 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 218 

bhabitants seated at the entrances of their cells, 
while sentinels seemed to have been posted on 
i!b& oatskirts, to keep a look-out. At sight of 
us, the pid^et guards scampered in and gave the 
alarm ; whereupon every inhabitant gave a short 
yelp, or bark, and dived into his hole,- his heels 
twinkling in the air as if he had thrown a som- 
erset. 

We traversed the whole village, or republic, 
which covered an area of about thirty acres ; 
but not a whisker of an inhabitant was to be seen. 
We probed their ceUs as &r as the ramrods of 
our rifles would reach, but could unearth neither 
dog, nor owl, nor rattlesnake. Moving quietly 
to a little distance, we lay down upon the ground 
and watched for a long time, silent and motionless. 
By-and-by a cautious old burgher would slowly 
put forth tiie end of his nose, but instantly draw 
it in again. Another, at a greater distance, would 
emerge entirely ; but, catching a glance of us, 
would throw a somerset, and plunge back again 
into his hole. At length, some who resided on 
the opposite side of the village, taking courage 
from the continued stillness, would steal forth, 
and hurry off to a distant hole, the residence pos- 
sibly of some family connection, or gossiping 
friend, about whose safety they were solicitous, 
or with whom they wished to compare notes 
about the late occurrences. 

Others still more bold, assembled in little 
knots, in the streets and public places, as if to 
discuss the recent outrages offered to the com- 
monwealth, and the atrocious murders of their fel- 
low-burghers 

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214 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

We rose from the ground and moved forward, 
to take a nearer view of these public proceedings, 
when, yelp I yelp ! yelp ! — there was a shrill 
alarm passed from mouth to mouth ; the meetings 
suddeidy dispersed ; feet twinkled in the air in 
every direction ; and in an instant all had van- 
ished into the earth. 

The dusk of the evening put an end to our 
observations, but the train of whimsical compari- 
sons produced in my brain by the moral attributes 
which I had heard given to these little politic 
animals, still continued after my return to camp ; 
and late in the night, as I lay awake after all the 
camp was asleep, and heard, in the stillness of 
the hour, a faint clamor of shrill voices from the 
distant village, I could not help picturing to my- 
self the inhabitants gathered together in noisy 
assemblage, and windy debate, to devise plans for 
the public safety, and to vindicate the invaded 
rights and insulted dignity of the republic 




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CHAPTER XXXm. 

A OOVNOIL IK THB OAMP. — UASOKS FOB YAOHra HOITEWABDS. — H0B81S 
LOST. — DXPARTUBKWITHADKTAOHMZNT ON THE HOMKWABD BOUTS. 
SWAMP. — WILD HOBSX. — CAMP-SCBNB BT MIGHT. —THB OWL, HAB- 
BOCaSB 07 DAWK. 

|HILE breakfast was preparing, a council 
was held as to our future movements. 
Symptoms of discontent had appeared, 
for a day or two past, among the rangers, most 
of whom, unaccustomed to the life of the prai- 
ries, had become impatient of its privations, as 
well as the restraints of the camp. The want 
of bread had been felt severely, and they were 
wearied with constant travel. In fact, the novelty 
and excitement of the expedition were at an end. 
They had hunted the deer, the bear, the elk, the 
buffalo, and the wild horse, and had no further 
object of leading interest to look forward to. A 
general inclination prevailed, therefore, to turn 
homewards. 

Grave reasons disposed the Captain and his 
oflicers to adopt this resolution. Our horses 
were generally much jaded by the fatigues of 
travelling and hunting, and had fallen away sadly 
for want of good pasturage, and from being 
tethered at night, to protect them from Indian 
depredations. The late rains, too, seemed to 



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216 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

have washed away the nourishment &om the 
Bcanty herbage that remained ; and since our en- 
campment during the storm our horses had lost 
flesh and strength rapidly. With every possible 
care, horses accustomed to grain and to the regu- 
lar and plentiM nourishment of the stable and 
•the farm, lose heart and condition in travelling on 
the prairies. In ' all expeditions of the kind we 
were engaged in, the hardy Indian horses, which 
are generally mustangs, or a cross of the wild 
breed, are to be preferred. They can stand all 
fatigues, hardships, and privations, and thrive on 
the grasses and wild herbage of the plains. 

Our men, too, had acted with little forethought ; 
galloping off, whenever they had a chance, after 
the game that we encountered while on the 
march. In this way they had strained and 
wearied their horses, instead of husbanding their 
strength and spirits. On a tour of the kind, 
horses should as seldom as possible be put off of 
a quiet walk ; and the average day's journey 
should not exceed ten miles. 

We had hoped, by pushing forward, to reach 
the bottoms of the Red River, which abound with 
young cane, a most nourishing forage for cattle at 
this season of the year. It would now take us 
several days to arrive there, and in the mean 
time many of our horses would probably give 
out. It was the time, too, when the hunting 
parties of Indians set fire to the prairies ; the 
herbage, throughout this part of the country, was 
in that parched state favorable to combustion, 
and there was daily more and more risk that the 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES, 217 

prairies between us and the fort would be set on 
fire by some of the return parties of Osages, and 
a scorched desert left for us to traverse. In a 
word, we had started too late in the season, or 
loitered too much in the early part of our march, 
to accomplish our originally intended tour ; and 
there was imminent hazard, if we continued on, 
that we should lose the greater part of our 
horses; and, besides suffering various other in- 
conveniences, be obliged to return on foot. It 
was determined, therefore, to give up all further 
progress, and, turning our faces to the southeast, 
to make the best of our way back to Fort Gib- 
son. 

This resolution being taken, there was an im- 
mediate eagerness to put it into operation. Sev- 
eral horses, however, were missing,, and among 
others those of the Captain and the Surgeon. 
Persons had gone in search of them, but the 
morning advanced without any tidings of them. 
Our party, in the mean time, being all ready for 
a march, the Commissioner determined to set off 
in the advance, with his original escort of a lieu- 
tenant and fourteen rangers, leaving the Captain 
to come on at his convenience, with the m«un 
body. At ten o'clock' we accordingly started, 
under the guidance of Beatte, who had hunted 
over this part of the country, and knew the 
direct route to the garrison. 

For some distance we skirted the prairie, keep- 
ing a southeast direction ; and in the course of 
our ride we saw a variety of wild animals, deer, 
white and black wolves, buf&loes, and wild horses. 



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218 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

To the latter our half-breeds aud Tonish gave 
ineffectual chase, only serving to add to the weari- 
ness of their already jaded steeds. Indeed it is 
rarely that any but the weaker and least fleet of 
the wild horses are taken in these hard racings ; 
while the horse of the huntsman is prone to be 
knocked up. The latter, in fact, risks a good 
horse to catch a bad one. On this occasion, Ton- 
ish, who was a perfect imp on horseback, and 
noted for ruining every animal he bestrode, suc- 
ceeded in laming and almost disabling the power- 
ful gray on which we had mounted him at the 
outset of our tour. 

After proceeding a few miles, we left the prai- 
rie, and struck to the east, taking what Beatte 
pronounced an old Osage war-track. This led us 
through a rugged tract of country, overgrown 
with scrubbed forests and entangled thickets, and 
intersected by deep ravines and brisk-running 
streams, the sources of Little River. About 
three o'clock, we encamped by some pools of 
water in a small valley, having come about four- 
teen miles. We had brought on a supply of pro- 
visions from our last camp, and supped heartily 
upon stewed buffalo meat, roasted venison, beig- 
nets, or fritters of flour fried in bear's lard, and 
tea made of a species of the golden-rod, which 
we had found, throughout our whole route, almost 
as grateful a beverage as coffee. Indeed our cof- 
fee, which, as long as it held out, had been served 
up with every meal, according to the custom of 
the West, was by no means a beverage to boast of. 
It was roasted in a frying-pan, without much care 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES, 219 

pounded in a leathern bag with a round stone, 
and boiled in our prime and almost only kitchen 
utensil, the camp-kettle, in "branch" or brook 
water ; which, on the prairies, is deeply colored by 
the soil, of which it always holds abundant par- 
ticles in a state of solution and suspension. In 
fact, in the course of our tour, we had tasted the 
quality of every variety of soU, and the draughts 
of water we had taken might vie in diversity of 
color, if not of flavor, with the tinctures of an 
apothecary's shop. Pure, limpid water is a rare 
luxury on the prairies, at least at this season of 
the year. Supper over, we placed sentinels about 
our scanty and diminished camp, spread our skins 
and blankets under the trees, now nearly destitute 
of foliage, and slept soundly until morning. 

We had a beautiful daybreak. The camp 
again resounded with cheerful voices ; every one 
was animated with the thoughts of soon being at 
the fort, and revelling on bread and vegetables. 
Even our saturnine man, Beatte, seemed inspired 
on this occasion ; and as he drove up the horses 
for the march, I heard him singing, in nasal tones, 
a most forlorn Indian ditty. AU tlud transient 
gayety, however, soon died away amidst the 
fatigues of our march, which lay through the 
same kind of rough, hilly, thicketed country as 
that of yesterday. In the course of the morning 
we arrived at the valley of the Little River, 
where it wound through a broad bottom of allu- 
vial soil At present it had overflowed its banks, 
and inundated a great part of the valley. The 
difficulty was to distinguish the stream from the 



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220 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

broad sheets of water it had formed, and to find 
a place where it might be forded ; for it was m 
general deep and miry, with abrupt crumbling 
banks. Under the pilotage of Beatte, therefore, 
we wandered for some time among the links made 
by this winding stream, in what appeared to us 
a trackless labyrinth of swamps, thickets, and 
standing pools. Sometimes our> jaded hoi^ses 
dragged their limbs forward with the utmost diffi- 
culty, having to toil for a great distance, with the 
water up to the stirrups, and beset at the bottom 
with roots and creeping plants. Sometimes we 
had to force our way through dense thickets of 
brambles and grape-vines, which almost pulled 
us out of our saddles. In one place, one of the 
pack-horses sunk in the mire and fell on his 
side, so as to be extricated with great difficulty. 
Wherever the soil was bare, or there was a sand- 
bank, we beheld innumerable tracks of bears, 
wolves, wild horses, turkeys, and water-fowl; 
showing the abundant sport this valley might 
afford to the huntsman. Our men, however, were 
sated with hunting, and too weary ' to be excited 
by these signs, which in the outset of our tour 
would have put them in a fever of anticipation. 
Their only desire at present was to push on dog- 
gedly for the fortress. 

At length we succeeded in finding a fording- 
place, where we all crossed Little River, with the 
water and mire to the saddle-girths, and then 
halted for an hour and a hal^ to overhaul the wet 
baggage, and give the horses time to rest. 

On resuming our march, wo came to a pleasant 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES, 221 

little meadow, surrounded by groves of elms and 
ootton-wood trees, in the midst of which was a 
fine black horse grazing. Beatte, who was in the 
advance, beckoned us to halt, and, being mounted 
on a mare, approached the horse gently, step by 
step, imitating the whinny of the animal with 
admirable exactness. The noble courser of the 
prairie gazed &r a time, snuffed the air, neighed, 
pricked up his ears, and pranced round and round 
the mare in gallant style, but kept at too great a 
distance for Beatte to throw the lariat He was 
a magnificent object, in all the pride and glory of 
his nature. It was admirable to see the lofly and 
airy carriage of his head ; the freedom of every 
movement ; the elasticity with which he trod the 
meadow. Finding it impossible to get within 
noosing distance, and seeing that the horse was 
receding and growing alarmed, Beatte slid down 
from his saddle, levelled his rifie across the back 
of his mare, and took aim, with the evident in- 
tention of creasing him. I felt a throb of anx- 
iety for the safety of the noble animal, and 
called out to Beatte to desist. It was too late ; 
he pulled the trigger as I spoke ; luckily he did 
not shoot with his usual accuracy, and I had the 
satisfaction to see the ooal-blad: steed dash off 
unharmed into the forest 
. On leaving this vaUey, we ascended among 
broken hills and rugged, ragged forests, equally 
harassing to horse and rider. The ravines, too, 
were of red day, and oflen so steep that, in de« 
Bcending, the horses would put their feet together 
and fairly slide down, and then scramble up the 



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222 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

opposite side like cats. Here and there among 
the thickets in the valleys we met with sloes and 
persimmon, and the eagerness with which our 
men broke from the line' of march, and ran to 
gather these poor fruits, showed how much they 
craved some vegetable condiment, after living so 
long exclusively on animal food. 

About half-past three we encamped near a 
brook in a meadow, where there was some scanty 
herbage for our half-famished horses. As Beatte 
had killed a fat doe in the course of the day, and 
one of our company a fine turkey, we did not lack 
for provisions. 

It was a splendid autumnal evening. The ho- 
rizon, after sunset, was of a clear apple-green, ris- 
ing into a delicate lake which gradually lost itself 
in a deep purple blue. One narrow streak of 
cloud, of a mahogany color, edged with amber and 
gold, floated in the west, and just beneath it was 
the evening star, shining with the pure brilliancy 
of a diamond. In unison with this scene there 
was an evening concert of insects of various 
kinds, all blended and harmonized into one sober 
and somewhat melancholy note, which I have 
always found to have a soothing effect upon the 
mind, disposing it to quiet musings. 

The night that succeeded was calm and beauti- 
ful. There was a faint light from the moon,.no^ 
in its second quarter, and after it had set, a fine 
starlight, with shooting meteors. The wearied 
rangers, after a little murmuring conversation 
round their fires, sank to rest at an early hour, and 
I seemed to have the whole scene to myself. It is 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. S2S 

deUghtful, in thus bivouacking on the prairies, to 
lie awake and gaze at the stars ; it is like watching 
them from the deck of a ship at sea, when at one 
view we have the whole cope of heaven. One 
realizes, in such lonely scenes, that companionship 
with these beautiful luminaries which made as- 
tronomers of the eastern shepherds, as they 
watched their flocks by night How often, while 
contemplating their mUd and benignant radiance, I 
have called to mind the exquisite text of Job, — 
'^ Canst thou bind the secret influences of the 
Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion ? " I do 
not know why it was, but I felt this night unusu- 
ally aflected by the solemn magnificence of the 
firmament ; and seemed, as I lay thus under the 
open vault of heaven, to inhale with the pure un- 
tainted air an exhilarating buoyancy of spirit, 
and, as it were, an ecstasy of mind. I slept and 
waked alternately ; and when I slept, my dreams 
partook of the happy tone of my waking reveries. 
Towards morning, one of the sentinels, the oldest 
man in the troop, came and took a seat near me : 
he was weary and sleepy, and impatient to be 
relieved. I found he had been gazing at the 
heavens also, but with different feelings. 

" If the stars don't deceive me." said he, " it is 
near daybreak." 

^ There can be no doubt of that," said Beatte, 
who lay dose by. " I heard an owl just now." 

'^ Does the owl, then, hoot towards daybreak ? " 
asked L 

^ Aye, sir, just as the cock crows." 
15 



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224 



CRAYON MISCELLANr. 



This was a useful habitude of the bird of 
dom, of which I was not aware. Neither the 
stars nor owl deceived their votaries. In a 
short time there was a &int streak of light in the 



^;W5S 




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CHAPTER XXXIV. 

0U> OlIBK IROAMPMBIIT. — SOABCITT OP PB0TX8I0R8. —BAD WBAZHIB. 
WBAET MABOBDia. — ▲ HUHna'S BlIMB. 

|HE countrj ihrongh which we passed 
this morning (Nov. 2), was less nigged, 
and of more agreeable aspect than that 
wo had lately traversed. At eleven o'clock we 
came out upon an extensive prairie, and about six 
miles to our left beheld a long line of green forest, 
marking the course of the north fork of the Ar- 
kansas. On the edge of the prairie, and in a 
spacious grove of noble trees which overshadowed 
a small brook, were the traces of an old Greek 
hunting-camp. On the bark of the trees were 
rude delineations of hunters and squaws, scrawled 
with charcoal; together with various signs and 
hieroglyphics, which our half-breeds interpreted 
as indicating that from this encampment the hunt- 
ers had returned home. 

In tibis beautiful camping-ground we made our 
mid-day halt While reposing^ under the trees, 
we heard a shouting at no great distance, and pres- 
ently the Captain and the main body of rangers, 
whom we had left behind two days since, emerged 
fix>m the thickets, and crossing the brook, were 
joyfully welcomed into the camp. The Oe^tain 



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226 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

and the Doctor had been unsuccessful in the 
search after their horses, and were obliged to 
march for the greater part of the time on foot; yet 
they had come on with more than ordinary speed. 

We resumed our march about one o'clock, keep- 
ing easterly, and approaching the north fork 
obliquely; it was late before we found a good 
camping-place ; the beds of the streams were dry, 
the prairies, too, had been burnt in various places, 
by Indian hunting-parties. At length we found 
water in a small alluvial bottom, where there was 
tolerable pasturage. 

On the following morning there were flashes 
of lightning in the east, with low^ rumbling thun- 
der, and clouds began to gather about the horizon. 
Beatte prognosticated rain, and that the wind 
would veer to the north. In the course of our 
march, a flock of brant were seen overhead, flying 
from the north. " There comes the wind I " said 
Beatte ; and, in fact, it began to blow from that 
quarter almost immediately, with occasional flur- 
ries of rain. About half-past nine o'clock, we 
forded the north fork of the Canadian, and en- 
camped about one, that our hunters might have 
time to beat up the neighborhood for game ; for 
a serious scarcity began to prevail in the camp. 
Most of the rangers were young, heedless, and 
inexperienced, and could not be prevailed upon, 
while provisions abounded, to provide for the 
future, by jerking meat, or carrying away any on 
their horses. On leaving an encampment, they 
would leave quantities of meat lying about, trust- 
ing to Providence and their rifles for a fatoie 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIEB. 227 

Bopplj. The oonsequenoe was, that any temporary 
Bcarcitj of game, or ill luck in huntmg^ produced 
almost a famine in the camp. In the present in^ 
stance, thej had left loads of bufi^o meat at the 
camp on the great prairie ; and having ever since 
been on a forced march, leaving no time for 
hunting, they were now destitute of supplies, and 
pinched with hunger. Some had not eaten any- 
thing since the morning of the preceding day. 
Nothing would have persuaded them, when rev- 
elling in the abundance of the buffalo encamp- 
ment, that they would so soon be in such famish- 
ing plight. 

The hunters returned with indifferent success. 
The game had been lightened away from this 
part of the country by Indian hunting-parties 
which had preceded us. Ten or a dozen wild 
turkeys were brought in, but not a deer had been 
seen. The rangers began to think turkeys and 
even prairie-hens deserving of attention, — game 
which they had hitherto considered unworthy of 
their rifles. 

The night was cold and windy, with occasional 
sprinklings of rain ; but we had roaring fires to 
keep us comfortable. In the night a flight of 
wild geese passed over the camp, making a great 
cackling in the au*, — symptoms of approaching 
winter. 

We set £>rward at an early hour the next 
morning, in a northeast course, and came upon 
the trace of a par^ of Creek Lidians, which en- 
abled our poor horses to travel with more ease. 
We entered upon a fine champaign country. 



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228 CBATON MIBCELLANY. 

From a rising ground we had a noble prospect 
over extensive prairies, finely diversified by groves 
and tracts of woodland, and bounded by long 
lines of distant hills, all clothed with the rich 
mellow tints of autumn. Game, too, was more 
plenty. A fine buck sprang up from among the 
herbage on our right, and dashed off at full 
speed ; but a young ranger by the name of Chil- 
ders, who was on foot, levelled his .rifle, dis- 
charged a ball that broke the neck of the bound- 
ing deer, and sent him tumbling head-over-heels 
forward. Another buck and a doe, beside sev- 
eral turkeys, were killed before we came to a halt^ 
so that the hungry mouths of the troop were 
once more supplied. 

About three o'clock we encamped in a grove, 
after a forced march of twenty-five miles, that 
had proved a hard trial to the horses. For a 
long time after the head of the line had encamped, 
the rest kept straggling in, two and three at a 
time ; one of our pack-horses had given out, 
about nine miles back, and a pony belonging to 
Beatte, shortly after. Many of the other horses 
looked so gaunt and feeble^ that doubts were en- 
tertained of their being able to reach the fort. 
In the night thero was heavy rain, and the morn- 
ing dawned . ck>udy and dismaL The camp re* 
sounded, however, with something of its former 
gayety. The rangers had supped well, and were 
renovated in spirits, anticipating a speedy arrival 
at the garrison. Before we set forward on our 
mardi, Beatte returned, and brought his pony to 
the canqp with great difficulty. The ^Mick-tunw^ 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIMIES. 229 

however^ was oompletelj knocked np, and had to 
be abandoned. The wild mare, too, had east her 
foal, through exhaustion, and was not in a state 
to go fcMward. She and the ponj, therefore, were 
left at this encampment, where there was water 
and good pasturage, and where there would be 
|i chance of their reviving, and being aflterwards 
sought out and brought to the garrison. 

We set off about eight o'clock, and had a daj 
of weary and harassing travel ; part of the time 
over rough hills, and part over rolling prairies. 
The rain had rendered the soil slippery and 
plashy, so as to afford unsteady foothold. Some 
of the rangers dismounted, their horses having 
no longer strength to bear them. We made a 
halt in the course of the morning, but the horses 
were too tired to graze. Several of them laid 
down, and there was some difficulty in getting 
them on their feet again. Our troop presented a 
forlorn appearance, straggling slowly along, in a 
broken and scattered line, that extended over hiU 
and dale, for three miles and upwards, in groups 
of three and four widely apart ; some on horse- 
back, some on foot, with a few laggards Hbhc in the 
rear. About four o'clock we halted for the night 
in a spacious forest, beside a deep narrow river, 
called the Little North Fork, or Deep Creek. 
It was late before the main part of the troop 
straggled into the encampment, many of the 
horses having given out. As this stream was 
too deep to be forded, we waited until the next 
day to devise means to cross it; but our half* 
bleeds swam the horses of our party to the other 



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380 CRAYON UmCBLLANT 

eide in itie evening, as they would hare better 
pastnrage, and the stream was evidentlj swelling. 
The night was cold and unruly ; the vmid sound- 
ing hoarsely through the forest and whirling 
about the cbry leaves. We made long fires of 
great trunks of trees, which diffused something 
of consolation if not cheerfulness around. % 

The next morning there was general permis- 
sion given to hunt until twelve o'clock, the camp 
being destitute of provisions. The rich woody 
bottom in which we were encamped abounded 
with wild turkeys, of which a considerable num- 
ber were killed. In the mean time, preparations 
were made for crossing the river, which had risen 
several feet during the night ; and it was deter- 
mined to fell trees for the purpose, to serve as 
bridges. 

The Captain and Doctor, and one or two other 
leaders of the camp, versed in woodcraft, exam- 
ined with learned eye the trees growing on the 
river-bank, until they singled out a couple of the 
largest size, and most suitable inclinations. The 
axe was then vigorously applied to their roots, in 
such a way as to insure their falling directly across 
the stream. As they did not reach to the opposite 
bank, it was necessary for some of the men to 
swim across and fell trees on the other side, to 
meet them. They at length succeeded in making 
a precarious footway across the deep and rapid 
current, by which the baggage could be carried 
over ; but it was necessary to grope our way, step 
by step, along the trunks and main branches of 
the trees, which for a part of the distance were 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 281 

completely submerged, so that we were to our 
waists in water. Most of the horses were then 
swum across, but some of them were too weak to 
brave the current, and evidently too much knocked 
up to bear any further traveL Twelve men, there- 
fore, were left at the encampment to guard these 
horses, until by repose and good pasturage they 
should be sufficiently recovered to complete their 
Journey ; and the Captain engaged to send the 
men a supply of flour and other necessaries^ as 
soon as we should arrive at the Fort 




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CHAPTEE XXXV. 

A LOOX-ODT rOE LAND. — HABD TKAYVUJSQ AHD HUNOET EALTnrO.--> 

A raoimKa vjlbm-houii.— asbxtal ax tbm oabsxson. 

|T was a little after one o'clock wlien we 
again resumed our weary wayfaring. 
The residue of that day and the whole 
of the next were spent in toilsome travel. Part 
of the way was over stony hills, part across wide 
prairies, rendered spongy and miry by the recent 
rain, and cut up by brooks swollen into torrents. 
Our poor horses were so feeble, that it was with 
dijQiculty we could get them across the deep ra- 
vines and turbulent streams. In traversing the 
miry plains, they slipped and staggered at every 
step, and most of us were obliged to dismount 
and walk for the greater part of the way. Hun- 
ger prevailed throughout the troop ; every one be- 
gan to look anxious and haggard, and to feel the 
growing length of each additional mile. At one 
time, in crossing a hill, Beatte climbed a high tree 
commanding a wide prospect, and took a look-out; 
like a mariner from the mast-head at .sea. He 
came down with cheering tidings. To the left he 
had beheld a line of forest stretching across the 
country, which he knew to be the woody border 
of the Arkansas ; and at a distance he had reo* 



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A TOUR ON TEE PRAIRIES. 288 

ognised oertain landmarks, fiiom which ho coo- 
daded that we oould not be above forty miles dis» 
tant from the fort It was like the welcome cry 
of land to tempest-tossed mariners. 

In &ct we soon after saw smoke rising from a 
woody glen at a distance. It was supposed to be 
made by a hunting-party of Creek or Osage In- 
dians firom the neighborhood of the fort, and was 
joy^iUy hailed as a harbinger of man. It was 
now confidently hoped that we would soon arrive 
among the frontier hamlets of Creek Indians, 
which are scattered along the skirts of the unin- 
habited wilderness ; and our hungry rangers 
trudged forward with reviving spirit regfiing 
themselves with savory anticipations of farm-house 
luxuries, and enumerating every article of good 
cheer, .until their mouths fairly watered at the 
shadowy feasts thus conjured up. 

A hungry night, however, closed in upon a 
toilsome day. We encamped on the border of 
one of the tributary streams of the Arkansas, 
amidst the ruins of a stately grove that had been 
riven by a hurricane. The blast had torn its 
way through the forest in a narrow column, 
and its course was marked by enormous trees, 
shivered and splintered, and upturned, with their 
roots in the air : all lay in one direction, like so 
many brittle reeds broken and trodden down by 
the hunter. 

Here svas fuel in abundance, without the labor 
of the axe : we had soon immense fires blazing 
and sparkling in the fix)sty air, and lighting up 
the whole forest; but» alas I we had no meat to 



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284 CRA YON MJSCELLAN T. 

cook at them. The scardtj in the camp ahnost 
amomited to &mine. Happy was he who had a 
morsel of jerked meat, or even the half-picked 
bones of a former repast For our part, we were 
more lucky at our mess than our neighbors, one 
of our men having shot a turkey. We had no 
bread, to eat with it, nor salt to season it withaL 
It was simply boiled in water; the latter was 
served up as soup ; and we were fain to rub each 
morsel of the turkey on the empty salt-bag, in 
hopes some saline particle might remain to relieve 
its insipidity. 

The night was biting cold ; the brilliant moon- 
light sparkled on the &osty crystals which covered 
every object around us. The water froze beside 
the skins on which we bivouacked, and in the 
morning I found the blanket in which I was 
wrapped covered with a hoar-frost; yet I had 
never slept more comfortably. 

After a shadow of a breakfast, consisting of 
turkey-bones and a cup of coffee without sugar, 
we decamped at an early hour ; for hunger is a 
sharp quickener on a journey. The prairies were 
all gemmed with frost, that covered the tall weeds 
and glistened in the sun. We saw great flights 
of prairie-hens, or grouse, that hovered from tree 
to tree, or sat in rows along the naked branches, 
waiting until the sun should melt the frt)St frt)m 
the weeds and herbage. Our rangers no longer 
despised such humble game, but turned frt)m the 
ranks in pursuit of a prairie-hen as eagerly as 
they formerly would go in pursuit of a deer. 

Eveiy one now pushed forward, anxious to ar^ 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 286 

rive at some human habitation before night The 
poor horses were urged beyond their strength, in 
the thought of soon being able to indemnify them 
for present toil by rest and ample provender,. 
Still the distances seemed to stretch out more 
than ever, and the blue hills, pointed out as land- 
marks on the horizon, to recede as we advanced. 
Every step became a labor ;- every now and then 
a miserable horse would give out and lie down. 
£[is owner would raise him by main strength, 
force' him forward to the margin of some stream, 
where there might be a scanty border of herbage, 
and then abandon him to his fate. Among those 
that were thus left on the way, was one of the led 
horses of the Count ; a prime hunter, that had 
taken the lead of everything in the chase of the 
wild horses. It was intended, however, as soon 
as wotjahould arrive at the fort, to send out a 
party provided with com, to bring in such of the 
horses as should survive. 

In the course of the morning we came upon 
Indian tracks, crossing each other in various di- 
rections, a proof that we must be in the neigh- 
borhood of human habitations. At length, on 
passing through a skirt of wood, we beheld two 
or three log houses, sheltered under lofty trees 
on the border of a prairie, the habitations of 
Creek Indians, who had small farms adjacent 
Had they been sumptuous villas, abounding with 
the luxuries of civilization, they could not have 
been hailed with greater delight 

Some of the rangers rode up to them in quest 
of food ; the greater part, however, pushed for- 

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£36 CRAYON MI8CELLANT. 

ward in search of the habitation of a white settler, 
which we were told was at no great distance. 
The troop soon disappeared among the trees, and 
I followed slowlj in their track; for my once 
fleet and generous steed Altered under me, and 
was just able to drag one foot afler the other ; yet 
I was too weary and exhausted to spare him. 

In this way we crept on, until, on turning a 
thick chimp of trees, a frontier &rm-house sud- 
denly presented itself to View. It was a low 
tenement of logs, overshadowed by great forest- 
trees, but it seemed as if a very region of Go- 
caigne prevailed around it Here was a stable 
and barn, and granaries teeming with abundance, 
while legions of grunting swine, gobbling turkeys, 
cackling hens and strutting roosters, swarmed 
about the farm-yard. 

My poor, jaded, and half-^mished horse raised 
his head and pricked up his ears at the well- 
known sights and sounds. He gave a chuckling 
inward sound, something like a dry laugh, 
whisked his tail, and made great leeway toward 
a corn-crib filled with golden ears of maize ; and 
it was with some difficulty that I could control 
his course, and steer him up to the door of the 
cabin. A single glance within was sufficient to 
raise every gastronomic faculty: There sat the 
Captain of the rangers and his officers, round a 
three-legged table, crowned by a broad and smok- 
ing dish of boiled beef and turnips. I sprang off 
my horse in an instant, cast him loose to make 
his way to the corn-crib, and entered this palace 
of plenty. A &t good-humored negress received 



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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 887 

me at the door. She was the mistress of the 
house, the spouse of the white man, who was ab- 
sent I hailed her as some swart Mrj of the 
wild, that had suddenly conjured up a banquet 
in the desert ; and a banquet was it in good sootL 
In a twinkling, she lugged from the fire a huge 
iron pot, that might have rivalled one of the 
famous fiesh-pots of Egypt, or the witches' cal- 
dron in Macbeth. Placing a brown earthen dish 
on the floor, she inclined the corpulent caldron on 
one side, and out leaped sundry great morsels of 
bee^ with a regiment of turnips tumbling after 
them, and a rich cascade of broth overflowing the 
whole. This she handed me with an ivory smile 
that extended from ear to ear; apologizing for 
our humble £are, and the humble style in which 
it was served up. Humble fare ! humble style I 
Boiled beef and turnips, and an earthen dish to 
eat them from I To think of apologizing for such 
a treat to a halfnstarved man from the prairies ; 
and then such magnificent slices of bread and 
butter ! Head of Apidus, what a banquet ! 

^ The rage of hunger " being appeased, I be- 
gan to think of my horse. He, however, like an 
old campaigner, had taken good care of himself. 
I found him paying assiduous attention to the 
crib of Indian com, and dexterously drawing forth 
and munching the ears that protruded between 
the bars. It was with great regret that I inter- 
rupted his repast, which he abandoned with a 
heavy sigh, or rather a rumbling groan. I was 
anxious, however, to rejoin my travelling con^>an- 
ions, who had passed by the &rm-house without 



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288 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

stopping, and proceeded to the banks of the Ar* 
kansas, being in hopes of arriving before night 
at the Osage Agency. Leaving the Captain and 
his troop, therefore, amidst the abundance of the 
farm, where they had determined to quarter 
themselves for the night, I bade adieu to our sa- 
ble hostess, and again pushed forward. 

A ride of about a mile brought me to where 
my comrades were waiting on the banks of the 
Arkansas, which here poured along between 
beautiful forests. A number of Creek Indians, 
in their brightly colored dresses, looking like so 
many gay tropical birds, were busy aiding our 
men to transport the baggage across the river in 
a canoe. While this was doing, our horses had 
another regale from two great cribs heaped up 
with ears of Indian com, which stood near the 
edge of the river. We had to keep a check 
upon the poor half -famished animals, lest they 
should injure themselves by their voracity. 

The baggage being all carried to the opposite 
bank, we embarked in the canoe, and swam our . 
horses across the river. I was fearfiil lest, in 
their enfeebled state, they should not be able to 
stem the current ; but their banquet of Indian 
com had already inftised fresh life and spirit into 
them, and it would appear as if they were 
cheered by the instinctive consciousness of their 
approach to home, where they would soon be at 
rest, and in plentiful quarters ; for no sooner had 
we landed and resumed our route, than they set 
off on a hand-gallop, and continued so for a great 
part of seven miles that we had to ride through 
the woods. 

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A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES. 239 

It was an early hour in the evening when we 
arrived at the Agency, on the banks of the Ver- 
digris River, whence we had set off about a month 
before. Here we passed the night comfortably 
quartered ; yet, after having been accustomed to 
sleep in the open air, the confinement of a cham- 
ber was, in some respects, irksome. The atmos- 
phere seemed dose, and destitute of freshness ; 
and when I woke in the night and gazed about 
me upon complete darkness, I missed the glorious 
companionship of the stars. 

The next nK)ming, after breakfast, I again set 
forward, in company with the worthy Conmiis- 
sioner, for Fort Gibson, where we arrived much 
tattered, travel-stained, and weather-beaten, but in 
high health and spirits. And thus ended my foray 
into the Pawnee Hunting-G^unds. 

16 



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ABBOTSFORD. 



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ABBOTSFORD. 



Sir down to perform my promise of 
giving you an acoomit of a visit made 
manj years since to Abbotsford. I 
hope, however, that you do not expect much from 
me, for the travelling notes taken at the time are 
BO scanty and vague, and my memory so ex- 
tremely fallacious, that I fear I shall disappoint 
you with the meagreness and crudeness of my 
details. 

Late in the evening of the 29th of August, 
1817, 1 arrived at the ancient little bordeivtown 
of Selkirk, where I put up for the night. I had 
come down from Edinburgh, partly to visit Mel- 
rose Abbey and its vicinity, but chiefly to get a 
sight of the " mighty minstrel of the north." I 
had a letter of introduction to him from Thomas 
Campbell the poet, and had reason to think, from 
the interest he had taken in some of my earlier 
Bcribblings, that a visit from me would not be 
deemed an intrusion. 

On the following morning, after an early 
breakfast, I set off in a post-chaise for the Abbey. 
On the way thither I stopped at the gate of Ab- 



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244 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

botoford, and sent the postilion to the house with 
the letter of introduction and mj card, on which 
I had written that I was on mj way to the ruins 
of Melrose Abbey, and wished to know whether 
it would be agreeable to Mr. Scott (he had not 
yet been made a Baronet) to receive a visit from 
me in the course of the morning. 

While the postilion was on his errand, I had 
time to survey the mansion. It stood some short 
distance below the road, on the side of a hill 
sweeping down to the Tweed ; and was as yet 
but a snug gentleman's cottage, with something 
rural and picturesque in its appearance. The 
whole front was overrun with evergreens, and 
immediately above the portal was a great pair 
of elk-horns, branching out from beneath the fo- 
liage, and giving the cottage the look of a hunt- 
ing-lodge. The huge baronial pile, to which this 
modest mansion in a manner gave birth, was just 
emerging into existence : part of the walls, sur- 
rounded by scaffolding, already had risen to the 
height of the cottage, and the court-yard in front 
was encumbered by masses of hewn stone. 

The noise of the chaise had disturbed the 
quiet of the establishment. Out sallied the war- 
der of the castle, a black greyhound, and, leaping 
on one of the blocks of stone, began a furious 
barking. His alarum brought out the whole gar- 
rison of dogs, — 

" Both mongrel, puppy, whelp, and hound, 
And curs of low degree; ** 

all open-mouthed and vociferous.——! should 

correct my quotation ; — not a cur was to be seen 



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ABBOTBFOHD, S4ft 

oa the premises : Soott was too tnie a i^rtsman, 
and had too high a veneratioii for pure blood, to 
tolerate a mongreL 

In a little while the '^ lord of the castle " him* 
self made his appearance. I knew him at once 
bj the descriptions I had read and heard, and the 
likenesses that had been published of him. He 
was tall, and of a large and powerful frame. His 
dress was simple, and almost rustic: an old green 
shooting-coat, with a dog-whistle at the button- 
hole, brown linen pantaloons, stout shoes that tied 
at the ankles, and a white hat that had evidentlj 
seen serrice. He came limping up the gravel- 
walk, aiding himself hj a stout walking-staJQT, but 
moving rapidl7 and with vigor. B7 his side 
jogged along a large iron-gray stag-hound of most 
grave demeanor, who took no part in the clamor 
of the canine rabble, but seemed to consider him- 
self bound, for the dignity of the house, to give 
me a courteous reception. 

Before Scott had reached the gate he called 
out in a hearty tone, welcoming me to Abbotsford, 
and asking news of CampbelL Arrived at the 
door of the chaise, he grasped me warmly by the 
hand : ^' Come, drive down, drive down to the 
house," said he, " ye 're just in time for breakfast, 
and afterwards ye shall see all the wonders of 
the Abbey.** 

I would have excused myself on the plea of 
having already made my breakfast. ^ Hout, 
man," cried he, ^' a ride in the morning in the 
keen aii of the Scotch hills is warrant enou^ 
for a second break^t." 



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24S CBATON MISCELLANY. 

I was accordingly whirled to the portal of the 
eottage, and in a few moments found mjself 
seated at the breakfast-table. There was no one 
present but the family : which consisted of Mrs. 
Scott ; her eldest daughter Sophia, then a fine girl 
about seventeen ; Miss Ann Scott, two or three 
years younger ; Walter, a well-grown stripling ; 
and Charles, a lively boy, eleven or twelve years 
of age. I soon felt myself quite at home, and 
my heart in a glow with the cordial welcome I 
experienced. I had thought to make a mere 
morning visit, but found I was not to be let off 
60 lightly. " You must not think our neighbor- 
hood is to be read in a morning, like a newspa- 
per," said Scott. " It takes several days of study 
for an observant traveller that has a relish for 
auld-world trumpery. After breakfast you shall 
make your visit to Melrose Abbey ; I shall not 
be able to accompany you, as I have some house- 
hold affairs to attend to, but I will put you in 
charge of my son Charles, who is very learned 
in all things touching the old ruin and the neigh* 
borhood it stands in, and he and my friend 
Johnny Bower will tell you the whole truth 
about it, with a good deal more that you are not 
called upon to believe — unless you be a true 
and nothing - doubting antiquary. When you 
come back, I 'U take you out on a ramble about 
the neighborhood. To-morrow we will take a 
look at the Yarrow, and the next day we wiU 
drive over to Dryburgh Abbey, which is a fine 
old ruin well worth your seeing ; " — in a word, 
before Scott had got through with his plan, I 



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ABB0T8F0RD. 247 

Ibund myself committed for a visit of several days, 
and it seemed as if a little realm of romance was 
suddenly opened before me. 

After break&st I accordingly set off for the 
Abbey with my little ftiend Charles, whom I 
found a most sprightly and entertaining compan-^ 
ion. He had an ample stock of anecdote about 
the neighborhood, which he had learned &om his 
father, and many quaint remarks and sly jokes, 
evidently derived from the same source, all which 
were uttered with a Scottish accent and a mixture 
of Scottish phraseology, that gave them addi- 
tional flavor. 

On our way to the Abbey he gave me some 
anecdotes of Johnny Bower, to whom his father" 
had alluded ; he was sexton of the parish and 
custodian of the ruin, employed to keep it in or- 
der and show it to strangers ; — a worthy little 
man, not without ambition in his humble sphere. 
The death of his predecessor had been mentioned 
in the newspapers, so that his name had appeared 
in print throughout the land. When Johnny 
succeeded to the guardianship of the ruin, he 
stipulated that, on his death, his name should re- 
ceive like honorable blazon ; with this addition, 
that it should be from the pen of Scott The 
latter gravely pledged himself to pay this tribute 
to his memory, and Johnny now lived in the 
proud anticipation of a poetic immortality. 

I found Johnny Bower a decent-looking little 
old man, in blue coat and red waistcoat. He re* 
ceived us with much greeting, and seemed de« 



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248 CEA70N MiaCELLANT. 

lighted to see my young companion, who was full 
of merriment and waggery, drawing out his pe- 
culiarities for my amusement The old man was 
one of the most authentic and particular of cice- 
rones ; he pointed out everything in the Abbey 
that had been described by Scott in his ^' Lay of 
the Last Minstrel " ; and would repeat, with broad 
Scottish accent, the passage which celebrated it. 

Thus, in passing through the cloisters, he made 
me remark the beautiful carvings of leaves and 
flowers wrought in stone with the most exquisite 
delicacy, and, notwithstanding the lapse of cen- 
turies, retaining their sharpness as if fresh from 
the chisel ; rivalling, as Scott has said, the real 
objects of which they were imitations, — 

" Nor herb nor flowret glistened there 
Bat was carved in the cloister arches as fair." 

He pointed out also among the carved work a 
nun's head of much beauty, which he said Scott 
always stopped to admire, — " for the shirra had 
a wonderful eye for all sic matters." 

I would ol^erve, that Scott seemed to derive 
more consequence in the neighborhood from being 
sheriff of the county than from being poet. 

In the interior of the Abbey, Johnny Bower 
conducted me to the identical stone on which 
Stout William of Deloraine and the Monk took 
their seat on that memorable night when the 
wizard's book was to be rescued from the grave. 
Nay, Johnny had even gone beyond Scott in the 
minuteness of his antiquarian research, for he had 
discovered the very tomb of the wizard, the posi- 
tion of which had been left in doubt by the poet< 



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ABB0T8F0RD. 249 

This he boasted to have ascertained bj the posi- 
tion of the oriel window, and the direction in 
which the moonbeams fell at night, through the 
stained glass, casting the shadow to the red cross 
on the spot ; as had all been specified in the poem. 
" I pointed out the whole to the shirra," said he, 
" and he could na' gainsay but it was varra clear.*' 
I found afterwards, that Scott used to amuse 
himself with the simplicity of the old man, and 
his zeal in verifying every passage of the poem, 
as though it had been authentic history, and that 
he always acquiesced in his deductions. I sub- 
join the description of the wizard's grave, which 
called forth the antiquarism research of Johnny 
Bower. 

"Lo, warrior I now the cross of red 
Points to the grave of the mighty dead; 
Slow moved the monk to the broad flag-stone, 
Which the bloody cross was traced upon: 
He pointed to a sacred nook 
An iron bar the warrior took ; 
And the monk made a sign with his withered hand, 
The grave's hage portal to expand. 

' It was by dint of passing strength 
That he moved the massy stone at length. 
I would you had been there, to see 
How the light broke forth so gloriously, . 
Streamed upward to the chancel roof^ 
And through the galleries far aloof I 

And, issuing firom the tomb, 
Showed the monk's cowl and visage pole. 
Danced on the dark brown warrior's mail, 

And kissed his waving plume. 

'* Before their eyes the wizard lay, 
As if he had not been dead a day. 



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260 ^ CRAYON lilBCELLANT. 

Hifl hoary beard in silver rolled, 
He seemed some seyenty winters old; 
A palmer^s amice wrapped him round; 
With a -wrought Spanish baldric bound, 

Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea; 
His left hand held his book of might; 
A silver cross was in his right: 

The lamp was placed beside his knee." 

The fictions of Scott had become &cts with 
honest Johnny Bower. From constantly living 
among the ruins of Melrose Abbey, and pointing 
out the scenes of the poem, the '' Lay of the Last 
Minstrel " had, in a manner, become interwoven 
with his whole existence, and I doubt whether he 
did not now and then mix up his own identity 
with the personages of some of its cantos. 

He could not bear that any other production 
of the poet should be preferred to the " Lay of the 
Last Minstrel." " Faith," said he to me, « it 's 
just e*en as gude a thing as Mr. Scott has written 
— an' if he were stannin' there I'd tell him so — 
an' then he'd lauff." 

He was loud in his praises of the affability of 
Scott. " He '11 come here sometimes," said he, 
" with great folks in his company, an' the first I 
know of it is his voice, calling out Johnny ! — 
Johnny Bower ! — and when I go out, I am sure 
to be greeted with a joke or a pleasant word. 
He '11 stand and crack and lauff wi' me, just like 
an auld wife — and to think that of a man that 
has such an awfu' knowledge o' history ! " 

One of the ingenious devices on which the 
worthy little man prided himself, was to place a 
visitor opposite to the Abbey, with his ba<i to it. 



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ABBOTaFOMD. 251 

and bid him bend down and look at it between 
his legs. This, ho said, gave an entire different 
aspect to the ruin. Folks admired the plan 
amazingly, but as to the "leddies," they were 
dainty on the matter, and contented themselves 
with looking fix>m under their arms. 

As Johnny Bower piqued himself upon show- 
ing everything laid down in the poem, there was 
one passage that perplexed him sadly. It was 
the opening of one of the cantos : 

^* If thou wouldst view fiur Melrose aright, 
Go visit it by the pale moonlight; 
For the gay beams of lightsome day 
end but to flout the ruins gray," &c. 

In consequence of this admonition, many of 
the most devout pilgrims to the ruin could not be 
contented with a daylight inspection, and insisted 
it could be nothing, unless seen by the light of the 
moon. Now, unfortunately, the moon shines but 
for a part of the month ; and what is still more un- 
fi>rtunate, is very apt in Scotland to be obscured 
by clouds and mists. Johnny was sorely puzzled, 
therefore, how to accommodate his poetry-struck 
visitors with this indispensable moonshine. At 
length, in a lucky moment, he devised a substitute. 
This was a great double tallow candle, stuck upon 
the end of a pole, with which he could conduct his 
visitors about the ruins on dark nights, so much 
to their satis&ction that, at length, he began to 
think it even preferable to the moon itself. ^ It 
does na light up a' the Abbeyataince,tobe sure,'' 
he would say, ^ but then you can shift it about and 
show the auld ruin bit by bit, whiles the moon 
only shines on one side." 

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262 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

Honest Johnny Bower! so many years have 
elapsed since the time I treat of, that it is more 
than probable his simple head lies beneath the 
waUs of his favorite Abbey. It is to be hoped 
his humble ambition has been gratified, and his 
name recorded by the pen of the man he so loved 
and honored. 

After my return from Melrose Abbey, Scott 
proposed a ramble to show me something of the 
surrounding country. As we sallied forth, every 
dog in the establishment turned out to attend us. 
There was the old stag-hound Maida, that I have 
already mentioned, a noble animal, and a great 
favorite of Scott's ; and Hamlet, the black grey- 
hound, a wild thoughtless youngster, not yet ar- 
lived to the years of discretion ; and Finette, 
a beautiful setter, with soft silken hair, long 
pendent ears, and a n^ild eye, the parlor &vorite. 
When in front of the house, we were joined by a 
superannuated greyhound, who came from the 
kitchen wagging his tail, and was cheered by 
Scott as an old friend and comrade. 

In our walks, Scott would frequently pause in 
conversation to notice his dogs and speak to them, 
as if rational companions ; and indeed there ap- 
pears to be a vast deal of rationality in these 
faithfiil attendants on man, derived from their 
dose intimacy with him. Maida deported him- 
self with a gravity becoming his age and size, and 
seemed to consider himself called upon to pre- 
serve a great d^:ree of dignity and decorum in onr 
fiodety. As he jogged along a little distance ahead 



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ABB0T8F0RD. 253 

<rf US, the young dogs would gambol about liim, 
leap <»i his neck, worry at his ears, and endeavor 
to tease him into a fix>lic The old dog would 
keep on for a long time with imperturbable so- 
lenmity, now and then seeming to rebuke the 
wantonness of his young companions. At length 
he would make a sudden turn, seize one of them, 
and tumble him in the dust ; then giving a glance 
at us, as much as to say, << You see, gentlemen, I 
can't help giving way to this nonsense," would re- 
sume his gravity and jog on as before. 

Scott amused himself with these peculiarities. 
^I make no doubt,*^ said he, ^when Maida is 
alone with these young dogs, he throws gravity 
aside, and plays the boy as much as any of them ; 
but he is ashamed to do so in our company, and 
seems to say, ' Ha' done with your nonsense, 
youi^ters; what will the laird and that other 
gentleman think of me if I give way to such 
foolery?'" 

Maida reminded him, he said, of a scene on 
board an armed yacht in which he made an ex- 
cursion with his friend Adam Ferguson. They 
had taken much notice of the boatswain, who was 
a fine sturdy seaman, and evidently felt flattered 
by their attention. On one occasion the crew 
were '^ piped to fun," and the sailors were dan- 
cing and cutting all kinds of capers to the music 
of the ship's band. The boatswain looked oa 
with a wistful eye, as if he would like to join in ; 
bat a glance at Scott and Ferguson showed that 
there was a strug^e with his dignity, fearing to 
leflsenhimaelf in their eyes. At length one of his 



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254 CRAYON MJSCJELLANT. 

messmates came up, and, seizing bim by the arm, 
challenged him to a jig. The boatswain, contin- 
ued Scott, after a little hesitation complied, made 
an awkward gambol or two, like our friend Maids, 
but soon gave it up. '^ It 's of no use," said he, 
jerking up his waistband and ^ving a side-glance 
at us, '^ one can't dance always nouther." 

Scott amused himself with the peculiarities of 
another of his dogs, a little shamefaced terrier, 
with large glassy eyes, one of the most sensitive 
little bodies to insult and indignity in the world. 
If ever he whipped him, he said, the little fellow 
would sneak off and hide himself from the light 
of day, in a lumber-garret, whence there was no 
drawing him forth but by the sound of the chop- 
ping-knife, as if chopping up his victuals, when he 
would steal forth with humbled and downcast 
look, but would skulk away again if any one re- 
garded him. 

While we were discussing the humors and pe- 
culiarities of our canine companions, some object 
provoked their spleen, and produced a sharp and 
petulant barking from the smaller fry, but it was 
some time before. Maida was sufficiently aroused 
to ramp forward two or three bounds and join in 
the chorus, with a deep-mouthed bow-wow I 

It was but a transient outbreak, and he re- 
turned instantly, wagging his tail, and looking up 
dubiously in his master's face ; uncertain whether 
he would censure or applaud. 

"Aye, aye, old boy ! " cried Scott, « you have 
done wonders. You have shaken the Eildon hills 
with your roaring ; you may now lay by your 



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ABB0T8F0RJ). SU 

ATtilleiy for the rest of the day. Maida 19 like 
the great gim at Constantinople," continued he ; 
*^ it takes so long to get it ready, that the small 
guns can fire off a dozen times first, but when it 
does go off it plays the very d — ^L" 

These simple anecdotes may serve to show the 
delightful play of Scott's humors and feelings in 
private life. His domestic animals were his 
fiiends ; everything about him seemed to rejoice 
in the light of his countenance : the &ce of the 
humblest dependant brightened at his approach, 
as if he anticipated a cordial and cheering word. 
I had occasion to observe this particularly in a 
visit which we paid to a quarry, whence several 
men were cutting stone for the new edifice ; who 
all paused from their labor to have a pleasant 
** crack wi' the laird." One of them was a bur- 
gess of Selkirk, with whom Scott had some joke 
about the old song, — 

" Up with the Sonters o* Selldrk, 
And down with the Earl of Home." 

Another was precentor at the Eark, and, beside 
leading the psalmody on Sunday, taught the lads 
and lasses of the neighborhood dancing on week* 
days, in the winter-time, when out-of-door labor 
was scarce. 

Among the rest was a tall, straight old fellow, 
with a healthful complexion and silver hair, and 
a small round-crowned white hat. He had been 
about to shoulder a hod, but paused, and stood 
looking at Scott, with a sHght sparkling of his 
blue eye, as if waiting his turn ; for the old fel- 
low knew himself to be a favorite. 

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256 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

Soott accosted bim in an affable tone^ and 
asked for a pinch of snuff. The old man drew 
forth a hom snuff-box. ** Hoot, man," said Scott, 
^ not that old mull : where 's the bonnie French 
one that I brought you from Paris ? " — " Troth, 
your honor," replied the old fellow, " sic a mull 
as that is nae for week-days." 

On leaving the quarry, Scott informed me that 
when absent at Paris, he had purchased several 
trifling articles as presents for his dependants, 
and among others the gay snuff-box in question, 
which was so carefiilly reserved for Sundays by 
the veteran. ^ It was not so much the value of 
the gifts," said he, ^ that pleased them, as the idea 
that the laird should think of them when so &r 
away." 

The old man in question, I 'found, was a great 
fiivorite with Scott If I recollect right, he had 
been a soldier in early life, and his straight, erect 
person, his ruddy yet rugged countenance, his 
gray hair, and an arch gleam in his blue eye, re- 
minded me of the description of Edie Ochiltree. 
I find that the old fellow has since been intro- 
duced by Wilkie, in his picture of the Scott 
fiunily. 

We rambled on among scenes which had been 
familiar in Scottish song, and rendered classic by 
the pastoral muse, long before Scott had thrown 
the rich mantle of his poetry over them. What 
a thrill of pleasure did I feel when first I saw 
the broom-covered tops of the Cowden Knowes, 
peeping above the gray hills of the Tweed ; and 



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ABBOTBFORD. 267 

what toncbuig associations were called up by the 
sight of Ettrick Yale, Galla Water, and the Braes 
of Yarrow I Every turn brought to mind some 
househola air — some almost forgotten song of 
the nursery, by which I had been lulled to sleep 
in my childhood ; and with them the looks and 
voices of those who had sung them, and who 
were now no more. It is these melodies, chanted 
in our ears in the days of infancy, and connected 
with the memory of those we have loved, and 
who have passed away, that clothe Scottish land- 
scape with such tender associations. The Scot- 
tish songs, in general, have something intrinsically 
melancholy in them; owing, in all probability, 
to the pastoral and lonely life of those who com- 
posed them ; who were often mere shepherds, 
tending their flocks in the solitary glens, or fold- 
ing them among the naked hills. Many of these 
rustic bards have passed away, without leaving a 
name behind them ; nothing remains of them but 
their sweet and touching songs, which live, like 
echoes, about the places they once inhabited. 
Most of these simple effiisions of pastoral poets 
are linked with some favorite haunt of the poet ; 
and in this way, not a mountain or valley, a town 
or tower, green shaw or running stream, in Scot- 
land, but has some popular air connected with it, 
that makes its very name a key-note to a whole 
train of delicious fancies and feelings. 

Let me step forward in time, and mention how 
sensible I was to the power of these simple airs, 
in a visit which I made to Ayr, the birthplace of 
Robert Bums. I passed a whole morning about 



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268 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

^ the banks and braes of bonnie Boon,** with big 
tender little love-verses running in my bead. I 
found a poor Scotch carpenter at work c^ong the 
ruins of Kirk Alloway, which was to be am* 
verted into a school-house. Finding the purpose 
of my visit, he left his work, sat down with me 
on a grassy grave, dose by where Bums' father 
was buried, and talked of the poet, whom he had 
known personally. He scud his songs were fa- 
miliar to the poorest and most illiterate of the 
country folk, ^coid it seemed to Mm as if ^ 
couTUry had grown more heautifui since Bams 
had written his honnie liide songs about it." 

I found Scott was quite an enthusiast on the 
subject of the popular songs of his countiy, and 
he seemed gratified to find me so alive to them. 
Their effect in calling up in my mind the recol- 
lections of early times and scenes in whidi I had 
first heard them, reminded him, he said, of the 
lines of his poor fiiend, Leyden, to the Scottish 
Muse : — 

*' In yoaih*8 first mom, alert and gay, 
Ere rolling years had passed away, 

Remembered like a morning dream, 
I heard the dulcet measures float, 
In many a liquid winding note, 
Along the bank of Teviot's stream. 

** Sweet sounds I that oft have soothed to rest 
The sorrows of my guileless breast, 

And charmed away mine infant tears ; 
Fond memory shall your strains repeat, 
like distant echoes, doubly sweet, 

That on the wild the traveller hears." 

Scott went on to expatiate on the popular 

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ABBOTBFORD. 259 

MDgs of Scotland. ^ They are a part of our na- 
tional inheritance," said he, '< and something that 
we may truly call our own. They have no for- 
eign taint ; they have the pure breath of the 
heather and the mountain breeze. All the gen- 
uine legitimate races that have descended from 
the ancient Britons, such as the Scotch, the 
Welsh, and the Irish, have national airs. The 
.English have none, because they are not natives 
of the soil, or, at leasts are mongrels. Their 
music IS all made up of foreign scraps, like a 
harlequin jacket^ or a piece of mosaic. Even in 
Scotland we have comparatively few national 
songs in the eastern part, where we have had 
most influx of strangers. A real old Scottish 
song is a cairn gorm — a gem of our own moun- 
tains ; or, rather, it is a precious relic of old times, 
that bears the national character stamped upon 
it, — hke a cameo, that shows what the national 
visage was in former days, before the breed was 
crossed." 

While Scott was thus discoursing, we were 
passing up a narrow glen, with the dogs beating 
about, to right and left, when suddenly a black 
cock burst up<m the wing. 

"Aha!" cried Scott, "there will be a good 
shot for master Walter ; we must send him this 
way with his gun, when we go home. Walter 's 
the &mily sportsman now, and keeps us in game. 
I have pretty nigh resigned my gun to him ; for 
I And I cannot trudge about as briskly as for- 
jaerly." 

Our ramble took us on the hills commanding 

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260 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

an extensive prospect <Now," said Scott, ^\ 
have brought you, like the pilgrim in the * Pil- 
grim's Progress/ to the top of the Delectable 
Mountains, that I may show you ail the gooldly 
regions hereabouts. Yonder is Lammermuir, and 
Smalholme ; and there you have Gallashiels, and 
Torwoodlie, and Gallawater ; and in that direction 
you see Teviotdale, and the Braes of Yarrow ; 
and Ettrick stream, winding along, like a silver 
thread, to throw itself into the Tweed." 

He went on thus to (sdl over names celebrated 
in Scottish song, and most of which had recently 
received a romantic interest from his own pen. La 
fact, I saw a great part of the border country 
spread out before me, and could trace the scenes 
of those poems and romances which had, in a 
manner, bewitched the world. I gazed about tne 
for a time with mute surprise, I may almost say 
with disappointment. I beheld a mere succession 
of gray waving hills, line beyond line, as far as 
my eye could reach ; monotonous in their aspect, 
and so destitute of trees that one could almost 
see a stout fly walking along their profile ; and 
the far-famed Tweed appeared a naked stream, 
flowing between bare hills, without a tree or 
thicket on its banks ; and yet, such had been the 
magic web of poetry and romance thrown over 
the whole, that it had a greater charm for me 
than the richest scenery I beheld in England, 

I could not help giving utterance to my 
thoughts. Scott hummed for a moment to him- 
self, and looked grave ; he had no idea of having 
his muse complimented at the expense of his na- 

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ABBOTS FORD. 261 

tive hills. "It may be partiality,** said he, at 
length ; <' but to my eye these gray hills and all 
this wild border country have beauties peculiar 
to themselves. I like the very nakedness of the 
land ; it has something bold, and stem, and soli- 
tary about it. When I have been for some time 
in the rich scenery about Edinburgh, which is 
like ornamented garden-land, I begin to wish my- 
self back again among my own honest gray hills ; 
and if I did not see the heather at least once a 
year, / think I should die / " 

The last words were said with an honest 
warmth, accompanied with a thump on the ground 
with his staff, by way of emphasis, that showed 
his heart was in his speech. He vindicated the 
Tweed, too, as a beautiful stream in itself, and 
observed that he did not dislike it for being bare 
of trees, probably from having been much of an 
angler in his time, and an angler does not like to 
have a stream overhung by trees, which embarrass 
him in the exercise of his rod and line. 

I took occasion to plead, in like manner, the 
associations of early life, for my disappointment 
in respect to the surrounding scenery. I had 
been so accustomed to hills crowned with forests, 
and streams breaking their way through a wil- 
derness of trees, that aU my ideas of romantic 
landscape were apt to be well wooded. 

" Aye, and that 's the great charm of your 
country," cried Scott ^ You love the forest as 
I do the heather, — but I would not have you 
think I do not feel the glory of a great woodland 
prospect. There is nothing I should like more 



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262 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

than to l>e in the midst of one of your grand, 
wild, original forests : with the idea of hundreds 
of miles of untrodden forest around me. I once 
saw, at Leith, an immense stick of timber, just 
landed firom America. It must have been an 
enormous tree when it stood on its native soil, at 
its full height, and with aU its branches. I gazed 
at it with admiration ; it seemed like one of the 
gigantic obelisks which are now and then brought 
irom Egypt, to shame the pigmy monuments of 
Europe ; and, in £su;t, these vast aboriginal trees, 
that have sheltered the Indians before the intru- 
sion of the white men, are the monuments and 
antiquities of your coimtry.*' 

The conversation here turned upon Campbell's 
poem of " Gertrude of Wyoming," as illustrative 
of the poetic materials fiirnished by American 
scenery. Scott spoke of it in that liberal style 
in which I always found him to speak of the 
writings of his contemporaries. He cited several 
passages of it with great delight " What a pity 
it is," said he, ^that Campbell does not write 
more and ofi;ener, and give full sweep to his gen- 
ius. He has wings that would bear him to the 
skies ; and he does now and then spread them 
grandly, but folds them up again and resumes his 
perch, as if he was afraid to launch away. He 
don't know or won't trust his own strength. 
Even when he has done a thing well, he has 
often misgivings about it. He left out several 
fine passages of his ^ Lochiel,' but I got him to 
restore some of them." Here Scott repeated sev- 
eral passages in a magnificent style. " What a 

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ABBOTBFORD. 2fi8 

grand id6a is that^" said he, ^ about prophetie 
boding, or, in common parlance, second sight, — 

*> Commg events cast tibeir shadows before.' 

It is a noble thought, and nobly expressed. And 
there 's that glorious little poem, too, of * Hohen- 
linden ' ; after he had written it, he did not seem 
to think much of it, but considered some of it 
* d— d drum and trumpet lines.' I got him to 
recite it to me, and I believe that the deligfeN/ 1 felt 
and expressed had an effect in inducing him to 
print it The fact is," added he, " Campbell is, 
in a manner, a bugbear to himself. The bright- 
ness of his early success is a detriment to all his 
further efforts. He is afraid of the shadow that 
his own fame casts before himT 

While we were thus chatting, we heard the 
report of a gun among the hills. ^ That 's Wal- 
ter, I think," said Scott; <<he has finished his 
morning's studies, and is out with lus gun. I 
should not be surprised if he had met with the 
black cock ; if so, we shall have an addition to 
our larder, for Walter is a pretty sure shot." 

I inquired into the nature of Walter's studies. 
^ Faith," said Scott, <<I can't say much on that 
head. I am not over-bent upon making prodigies 
of any of my children. As to Walter, I taught 
him, while a boy, to ride, and shoot, and speak 
the truth ; as to the other parts of his education, 
I leave them to a very worthy young man, the 
son of one of our dergjrmen, who instructs all 
my children." 

I afterwards became acquainted with the young 



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264 CRATON MISCELLANY. 

man in question, George Thomson, son of the 
minister of Melrose, and found him possessed of 
much learning, intelligence, and modest worth. 
He used to come every day fh)m his father's res- 
idence at Melrose, to superintend the studies of 
the young folks, and occasionally took his meals 
at Abbotsford, where he was highly esteemed. 
Nature had cut him out, Scott used to say, for a 
stalwart soldier; for he was tall, vigorous, active, 
and fiHid of athletic exercises ; but accident had 
marred her work, the loss of a limb in boyhood 
having reduced him to a wooden leg. He was 
brought up, therefore, for the church, whence he 
was occasionally called the Dominie, and is sup- 
posed, by his mixture of learning, simplicity, and 
amiable eccentricity, to have furnished many 
traits for the character of Dominie Sampson. I 
believe he often acted as S«ott's amanuensis, when 
composing his novels. With him the young peo- 
ple were occupied, in general, during the early 
part of the day, after which they took all kin^ 
of healthM recreations in the open air ; for Scott 
was as solicitous to strengthen their bodies as 
their minds. 

We had not walked much ftirther before we 
saw the two Miss Scotts ^vancing along the hill- 
side to meet us. The morning's studies being 
over, they had set off to take a ramble on the 
hills, and gather heather-blossoms with which to 
decorate their hair for dinner. As they came 
bounding lightly like young &wns, and their 
dresses fluttering in the pure summer breeze, I 
fvas reminded of Scott's own description of his 



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ABBOT8F0BD. 265 

children in bis introduction to one of the cantos 
of " JMarmion," — 

** My imps, though hardy, bold, and wild, 

As best befits the mountain-child, 

Their summer gambols tell and mourn, 

And anxious ask will spring return, 

And birds and lambs again be gay. 

And blossoms clothe the hawthorn spray? 
" Yes, prattlers, yes, the daisy's flower 

Again shall paint your summer bower; 

Again the hawthorn shall supply 

The garlands you delight to tie ; 

The lambs upon the lea shall bound, 

The wild birds carol to the round. 

And while you frolic light as they. 

Too short shall seem the summer day.*' 

As they approached, the dogs all sprang forward 
and gambolled around them. They played with 
them for a time, and then joined us with counte- 
nances full of health and glee. Sophia, the el- 
dest, was the most lively and joyous, having much 
of her father^s varied spirit in conversation, and 
seeming to catch excitement horn his words and 
looks. Ann was of quieter mood, rather silent, 
owing, in some measure, no doubt, to her being 
some years younger. 

At dinner, Scott had laid by his half rustic 
dress, and appeared dad in black. The girls, too, 
in completing their toilet, had twisted in their 
hair the sprigs of purple heather which they had 
gathered on the hill-side, and looked all fresh and 
blooming from their breezy walk. 

There was no guest at dinner but myselfi 
Around the table were two or three dogs in at- 



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iW CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

teadaace. Maida, the old stag-hound, took hia 
Beat at Scott's elbow, looking up wistfiilly in hia 
master's eye, while Finette, the pet spaniel placed 
herself near Mrs. Soott, by whom, I soon perceived, 
she was completely spoiled. 

The conversation happening to turn on the 
merits of his dogs, Soott spoke with great feeling 
and affection of his favorite, Camp, who is de- 
picted by his side in the earlier engravings of him. 
He talked of him as of a real Mend whom he 
had lost ; and Sophia Scott, looking up archly 
in his &ce, observed that papa shed a few tears 
when poor Camp died. I may here mention an- 
other testimonial of Scott's fondness for his dogs, 
and his humorous mode of showing it, which I 
subsequently met with. Rambling with him one 
morning about the grounds adjacent to the house, 
I observed a small antique monument, on which 
was inscribed, in Gothic characters, — 

" Cy git le preux Percy." 
(Here lies the brave Percy.) 

I paused, supposing it to be the tomb of some stark 
warrior of the olden time, but Scott drew me on. 
••' Pooh ! " cried he, " it 's nothing but one of the 
monuments of my nonsense, of which you '11 find 
enough hereabouts." I learnt afterwards that it 
was the grave of a favorite greyhound. 

Among the other important and privileged mem- 
bers of the household who figured in attendance 
at the dinner, was a large gray cat, who, I ob- 
served, was regaled from time to time with titbits 
from the table. This sage .grimalkin was a favor- 
ite of both master and mistress, and slept at night 

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ABB0T8F0BD. 2WT 

in tbeir room ; and Scott laughingly observed, that 
one of the least wise parts of their establishment 
was, that the window was left open at night for 
puss to go in and out. The eat assumed a kind 
of ascendency among the quadrupeds — sitting in 
state in Scott's arm-chair, and occasi(mall7 station- 
ii^ himself on a chair beside the door, as if to re- 
view his subjects as they passed, giving each dog 
a cuff beside the ears as he went by. This dap- 
per-dawing was ^ ways taken in good part ; it ap- 
peared to be, in fact, a mere act of sovereignty on 
the part of grimalkin, to remind the others of their 
vassalage ; which they acknowledged by the most 
perfect acquiescence. A general harmony pre- 
vailed between sovereign and subjects, and they 
would all sleep together in the sunshine. 

Scott If as full of anecdote and conversation 
during dinner. He made some admirable re- 
marks upon the Scottish character, and spoke 
strongly in praise of the quiet, orderly, honest 
conduct of his neighbors, which one would hardly 
expect, said he, from the descendants of moss- 
troopers and borderers, in a neighborhood famed 
in old times for brawl and feud, and violence of 
all kinds. He said he had, in his official capacity 
of sheriff, administered the laws for a number of 
years, during which there had been very few 
trials. The old feuds and local interests, and 
rivalries, and animosities of the Scotch, however, 
still slept, he said, in their ashes, and might easily 
be roused. Their hereditary feeling for names 
was still great. It was not always safe to have 
even the game of foot-ball between villages, the 



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268 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

old dannish spirit was too apt to break ont The 
Sootdi, he said, were more revenge^l than the 
English; they carried their resentments longer, 
and would sometimes lay them by for years, but 
would be sure to gratify them in tfie end. 

The ancient jealousy between the Highlanders 
and the Lowlanders still continued to a certain 
degree, the former looking upon the latter as an 
inferior race, less brave and hardy, but at the 
same time suspecting them of a disposition to 
take airs upon themselves under the idea of su- 
perior refinement. This made them techy and 
ticklish company for a stranger on his first coming 
among them ; ruffling up and putting themselves 
upon their mettle on the slightest occasion, so that 
he had in a manner to quarrel and fight his way 
into their good graces. 

He instanced a case in point in a brother of 
Mungo Park, who went to take up his residence 
in a wild neighborhood of the Highlands. He 
soon found himself considered as an intruder, and 
that there was a disposition among these cocks 
of the hills to fix a quarrel on him, trusting that, 
being a Lowlander, he would show the white 
feather. 

For a time he bore their flings and taunts with 
great coolness, until one, presuming on his forbear- 
ance, drew forth a dirk, and holding it before him, 
asked him if he had ever seen a weapon like that 
in Ms part of the country. Park, who was a 
Hercules in frame, seized the dirk, and, with one 
blow, drove it through an oaken table. " Yes," 
replied he, '^ and tell your friends that a man from 



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ABBOTSFOED. 269 

the Lowlands drove it where the devil himself 
cannot draw it out again." All persons were de- 
lighted with the feat, and the words that accom- 
panied it. They drank with Park to a better ac- 
quaintance, and were stanch friends ever after- 
wards. 

After dinner we adjourned to the drawing-room, 
which served also for study and library. Against 
the wall on one side was a long writing-table, 
with drawers ; surmounted by a small cabinet of 
polished wood, with folding-doors richly studded 
with brass ornaments, within which Scott kept 
liis most valuable papers. Above the cabinet, in 
a kind of niche, was a complete corselet of glitter- 
ing steel, with a closed helmet, and flanked by 
gauntlets and battle-axes. Around were hung 
trophies and relics of various kinds : a cimeter 
of Tippoo Saib; a Highland broadsword from 
Floddenfield ; a pair of Rippon spurs from Ban- 
nockburn, and above all, a gun which had be- 
longed to Bob Boy, and bore his initials, R. M. 
G., — an object of peculiar interest to me at the 
time, as it was understood Scott was actually en- 
gaged in printing a novel founded on the story of 
that famous outlaw. 

On each side of the cabinet were bookcases, 
well stored with works of romantic fiction in vari- 
ous languages, many of them rare and antiquated. 
This, however, was merely his cottage library, the 
principal part of his books being at Edinburgh. 

From this little cabinet of curiosities Scott 
drew forth a manuscript picked up on the field 



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t70 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

of Waterloo, oontaining oopies of several songs 
popular at the time in France. The paper was 
dabbled with blood — " the very life-blood, very 
poflsiWy," said Scott, ^ of some gay young officer, 
who had cherished these songs as a keepsake 
from some lady-love in Paris." 

He adverted in a mellow and delightfol man- 
ner to the little half gay, half melancholy cam- 
paigning song, said to have been composed by 
General Wolfe, and sung by him at the mess- 
table, on the eve of the storming of Quebec, in 
which he fell so gloriously. 

"Why, soldiers, why, 
Should we be melancholy, boys? 
Why, soldiers, why, 
Whose business *t is to die! 
For should next campaign 
Send us to him who made us, boys, 
We *re free firom pain : 
But should we remain, 
A bottle and kind landlady 
Makes all well again." 

« So," added he, " the poor lad who feU at Wa- 
terloo, in all probability, had been singing these 
songs in his tent the night before the battle, and 
-thinking of the fair dame who had taught him 
them, and promising himself, should be outlive 
the campaign, to return to her all glorious from 
the wars." 

I find since that Scott published translations 
of these songs among some of his smaller poems. 

The evening passed away delightfully in this 
quaint-looking apartment, half study, hcdf draw- 
ing-room. Scott read several passages frx>m tho old 



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ABB0T8F0RD. 271 

romance of Arthur, with a fine deep sonorous 
YoicCy and a gravity of tone that seemed to suit 
the antiquated, black-letter volume. It was a 
rich treat to hear such a work, read by such a 
person, and in such a place ; and his appearance 
as he sat reading, in a large armed chair, with 
his favorite hound Maida at his feet, and sur- 
rounded by books and relics, and border trophies, 
would have -formed an admirable and most char- 
acteristic picture. 

While Scott was reading, the sage grimalkin 
already mentioned had taken his seat in* a chair 
beside the fire, and remained with fixed eye and 
grave demeanor, as if lisfciing to the reader. I 
observed to Scott that his cat seemed to have a 
black-letter taste in literature. 

" Ah," said he, " these cats are a very myste- 
rious kind of folk. There is always more passing 
m their minds than we are aware of. It comes 
no doubt from their being so familiar with 
witches and warlocks." He went on to tell a 
little story about a gude man who was returning 
to his cottage one night, when, in a lonely out-of- 
the-way place, he met with a funeral procession 
of cats idl in mourning, bearing one of their rao» 
to the grave in a cofl5n covei'ed with a black vel- 
vet pall. The worthy man, astonished and half 
frightened at so strange a pageant, hastened home 
and told what he had seen t(^ his wife and chil- 
dren. Scarce had he finished, when a great black 
cat that sat beside the fire raised himself up, ex- 
claimed '< Then I am king of the cats I ** and 
vanished up the chimney. The funeral seen by 
the gude man was one of the cat dynasty. 

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272 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

"Our grimalkin here," added Scott, "some- 
times reminds me of the story, by the airs of 
sovereignty which he assumes ; and I am apt to 
treat him with respect irom the idea that he may 
be a great prince incog., and may some time or 
other come to the throne/' 

In this way Scott would make the habits and 
peculiarities of even the dumb animab about him 
subjects for humorous remark or whimsical story. 

Our evening was enlivened also by an occa- 
sional song from Sophia Scott, at the request of 
her father. She never wanted to be asked twice, 
but complied frankly and cheerRilly. Her songs 
were aU Scotch, sung \^hout aay accompaniment, 
in a simple manner, but with great spirit and ex- 
pression, and in their native dialects, which gave 
them an additional charm. It was delightful to 
hear her carol off in sprightly style, and with an 
animated air, some of those generous-spirited old 
Jacobite songs, once current among the adherents 
of the Pretender in Scotland, in which he is 
designated by the appellation of "The YOung 
Chevalier." 

These songs were much relished by Scott, not- 
withstanding his loyalty; for the unfortunate 
" Chevalier " has always been a hero of romance 
with him, as he has with many other stanch ad- 
herents to the House of Hanover, now that the 
Stuart line has . los| all its terrors. In speaking 
on the subject, Scott mentioned as a curious &ct, 
that, among the papers of the " Chevalier," which 
had been submitted by government to his inspec- 
tion, he had found a memorial to Charles from 



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ABB0T8F0RD, 278 

some adherents in America, dated 1778, propos« 
ing to set up his standard in the back settlements. 
I regret that^ at the time, I did not make more 
particular inquiries of Scott on the subject ; the 
document in question, however, in all probability, 
still exists among the Pretender's papers, -which 
ai-e in the possession of the British Gk>vemment. 

In the course of the evening, Scott related the 
story of a whimsical picture hanging in the room, 
which had been drawn for him by a lady of his 
acquaintance. It represented the doleful perplex- 
ity of a wealthy and handsome young English 
knight of the olden time, who, in the course of a 
border foray, had been caf tured and carried off 
to the castle of a hard-headed and high-handed 
old baron. The unfortunate youth was thrown 
into a dungeon, and a tall gallows erected before 
the castle-gate for his execution. When all was 
ready, he was brought into the castle-hall, where 
the grim baron was seated in state, with his war- 
riors armed to the teeth around him, and was 
given his choice, either to swing on the gibbet or 
to marry the baron's daughter. The last may be 
thought an easy alternative, but, unfortunately, 
the baron's young lady was hideously ugly, with 
a mouth from ear to ear, so that not a suitor was 
to be had for her, either for love or money, and 
she was known throughout the border country by 
the name of Muckle-mouthed Mag ! . 

The picture in question represented the un- 
happy dilemma of the handsome youth. Before 
him sat the grim baron, with a feee worthy of 
the &ther of such a daughter, and looking dag« 



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274 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

gers and ratsbane. On one side of him was 
Muckle-monthed Mag, with an amorous snule 
across the whole breadth of her countenance, and 
a leer enough to turn a man to stone ; on the 
other side was the father confessor, a sleek friar, 
jogging the youth's elbow, and pointing to the 
gallows, seen in perspective through the open 
portal 

The story goes, that, after long laboring in mind 
between the altar and the halter, the love of life 
prevailed, and the youth resigned himself to the 
charms of Muckle-mouthed MJag. Contrary to all 
the probabilities of romance, the match proved a 
happy one. The baron's daughter, if not beauti- 
ful, was a most exemplary wife ; her husband was 
never troubled with any of those doubts and jeal- 
ousies which sometimes mar the happiness of 
connubial life, and was made the father of a &ir 
and undoubtedly legitimate line, which still flour- 
ishes on the border. 

I give but a faint outline of the story from 
vague recollection; it may, perchance, be more 
richly related elsewhere, by some one who may 
retain something of the delightful humor with 
which Scott recounted it. 

When I retired for the night,! found it almost 
impossible to sleep ; the idea of being under the 
roof of Scott, of being on the borders of the 
Tweed, in the very centre of that region which 
had for some time past been the favorite scene of 
romantic fiction, and above all the recollections 
of the ramble I had taken, the company in which 
I had taken it, and the conversation which had 



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.ABBOTaFORD. 276 

passed, all fermented in my mind^ and nearly 
drove sleep from my pillow. 

On the following morning the sun darted his 
beams &om over the hills through the low lattioe 
window. I rose at an early hour, and looked out 
between the branches of eglantine which over- 
hung the casement. To my surprise Scott was 
already up and forth, seated on a fragment of 
stone, and chatting with the workmen employed 
on the new building. I had supposed, after the 
time he had wasted upon me yesterday, he would 
be closely occupied this morning; but he ap- 
peared like a man of leisure, who had nothing to 
do but bask in the sunshine and amuse himself. 

I soon dressed myself and joined him. He 
talked about his proposed plans of Abbotsford: 
happy would it have been for him could he have 
contented himself with his delightful little vine- 
covered cottage, and the simple yet hearty and 
hospitable style in which he lived at the time of 
my visit. The great pile of Abbotsford, with 
the huge expense it entailed upon him, of ser- 
vants, retainers, guests, and baronial style, was a 
drain upon his purse^ a tax upon his exertions, 
and a weight upon his mind, that finally crushed 
him. 

As yet, however, all was in embryo and per- 
spective, and Scott pleased himself with picturing 
out his future residence, as he would one of the 
fimciful creations of his own romances. ^ It was 
one of his air-castles,*' he said, " which he was 
reducing to solid stone and mortar." About the 

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276 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

place were strewed various morsels from the nuDS 
of Melrose Abbey, which were to be incorporated 
in his mansion. He had already constructed out 
of similar materials a kind of Gk>thic shrine over 
a spring, and had surmounted it by a small stone 
cross. 

Among the relics fix)m the Abbey which lay 
scattered before us, was a most quaint and an- 
tique little lion, either of red stone, or painted red, 
which hit my fancy. I forget whose cognizance 
it was; but I shall never forget the delightful 
observations concerning old Melrose to which it 
accidentally gave rise. 

The Abbey was evidently a pile that called up 
all Scott's poetic and romantic feelings ; and one 
to which he was enthusiastically attached by the 
most fanciful and delightful of his early associa- 
tions. He spoke of it, I may say, with affection. 
" There is no telling," said he, " what treasures 
are hid in that glorious old pile. It is a famous 
place for antiquarian plunder ; there are such rich 
bits of old-time sculpture for the architect, and old- 
time story for the poet. There is as rare picking 
in it as in a Stilton cheese, and in the same taste 
— the mouldier the better." 

He went on to mention circumstances of 
** mighty import " connected with the Abbey, which 
had never been touched, and which had even 
escaped the researches of Johnny Bower. The 
heart of Bobert Bruce, the hero of Scotland, had 
been buried in it He dwelt on the beautlM 
story of Bruce's pious and chivalrous request in 
his dying hour, that his heart might be oyped to 

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ABBOTSFORD, 277 

the H0I7 Land and placed in the H0I7 SepulchrCi 
in fulfilment of a vow of pilgrimage ; and of the 
loyal expedition of Sir James Douglas to convey 
the glorious relic. Much might be made, he said, 
out of the adventures of Sir James in that ad- 
venturous age ; of his fortunes in Spain, and his 
death in a crusade against the Moors ; with the 
subsequent fortunes of the heart of Robert Bruce 
until it was brought back to its native land, and 
enshrined within the holy walls of old Melrose. 

As Scott sat on a stone talking in this way, 
and knocking with his staff against the little red 
lion which lay prostrate before him, his gray eyes 
twinkled beneath his shagged eyebrows ; scenes, 
images, incidents, kept breaking upon his mind as 
he proceeded, mingled with touches of the mys- 
terious and supernatural as connected with the 
heart of Bruce. It seemed as if a poem or ro- 
mance were breaking vaguely on his imagination. 
That he subsequently contemplated something of 
the kind, as connected with this subject, and with 
his favorite ruin of Melrose, is evident from his 
introduction to " The Monastery " ; and it is a pity 
that he never succeeded in following out these 
shadowy but enthusiastic conceptions. 

A summons to breakfast broke off our conver- 
sation, when I begged to recommend to Scott's 
attention my friend the little red lion, who had 
led to such jui interesting topic, and hoped he 
might receive some niche or station in the future 
cattle, worthy of his evident antiquity and appar- 
ent dignity. Scott assured me, with comic grav- 
ity, that the valiant little lion should be most 



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278 CBA YON MI8 CELLAN T. 

honorably entertained ; I hope, therefore, that he 
BtUl flourishes at Abbotsford. 

Before dismissing the theme of the relics £rom 
the Abbey, I will mention another, illustrative<of 
Scott's varied humors. This was a human skulL 
which had probably belonged of yore to one of 
those jovial friars so honorably mentioned in the 
old border ballad, — 

*^ O the monks of Melrose made gade kale 
On Fridays, when they fiisted; 
They wanted neither beef nor ale, 
As long as their neighbors* lasted." 

This skull Scott had caused to be cleaned and 
varnished, and placed it on a chest of drawers in 
his chamber, immediately opposite his bed ; where 
I have seen it, grinning most dismally. It was 
an object of great awe and horror to the super- 
stitious housemaids; and Scott used to amuse 
himself with their apprehensions. Sometimes, 
in changing his dress, he would leave his neck- 
cloth coiled round it like a turban, and none of 
the " lasses " dared to remove it It was a mat- 
ter of great wonder and speculation among them 
that the laird should have such an " awsome fancy 
for an auld girning skull." 

At breakfast that morning Scott gave an 
amusing account of a little Highlander called 
Campbell of the North, who had a lawsuit of 
many years' standing with a nobleman in his 
neighborhood about the boundaries of their es- 
tates. It was the leading object of the little man's 
life ; the running theme of all his conversations ; 
he used to detfdl all the circumstances at fall 



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ABB0T8F0ED. 279 

length to everybody he met, and, to aid him in 
his description of the premises, and make his 
story ^ mair preceese," he had a great map made 
of his estate, a huge roll several feet long, which 
he used to carry about on his shoulder. Camp- 
bell was a long-bodied but short and bandy-le^ed 
little man, always dad in the Highland garb ; 
and as he went about with this great roll on his 
shoulder, and his little legs curving like a pair of 
parentheses below his kilt, he was an odd figure 
to behold. He was like little David shouldering 
the spear of Goliath, which was " like unto a 
weaver's beam." 

Whenever sheep-shearing was over, Campbell 
used to set out for Edinburgh to attend to his 
lawsuit. At the inns he paid double for all his 
meals and his nights' lodging ; telling the land- 
lords to keep it in mind until his return, so that 
he might come back that way at free cost; for 
he knew, he said, that he would spend all his 
money among the lawyers at Edinburgh, so he 
thought it best to secure a retreat home again. 

On one of his visits he called upon his lawyer, 
but was told he was not at home, but his lady 
was. ^^It is just the same thing," said little 
Campbell. On being shown into the parlor, he 
unrolled his map, stated his case at full length, 
and, having gone through with his story, gave 
her the customary fee. She would have declined 
it, but he insisted on her taking it. " I ha' had 
just as much pleasure," said he, " in telling the 
whole tale to you as I should have had in telling 
it to your husband, and I believe full as much 
profit. 

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280 CRAYON MTkCELLANY, 

The last time he saw Soott, Le told him he be* 
lieved he and the laird were near a settlement^ as 
thej agreed to within a few miles of the boun- 
dary. If I recollect right, Soott added that he 
advised the little man to consign his cause and 
his map to the care of " Slow Willie Mowbray,** 
of tedious memory : an Edinburgh worthy, much 
employed by the country people, for he tired out 
everybody in office by repeated visits and drawl- 
ing, endless prolixity, and gained every suit bj 
dint of boring. 

These little stories and anecdotes, which 
abounded in Scott's conversation, rose naturally 
out of the subject, and were perfectly unforced ; 
though in thus relating them in a detached way, 
without the observations or circumstances which 
led to them, and which have passed from my rec- 
ollection, they want their setting to give them 
proper relief. They will serve, however, to show 
the natural play of his mind, in its familiar moods, 
and its fecundity in graphic and characteristic 
detail. 

His daughter Sophia and his son Charles were 
those of his family who seemed most to feel and 
understand his humors, and to take delight in his 
conversation. Mrs. Scott did not always pay the 
same attention, and would now and then make a 
casual remark which would operate a little like 
a damper. Thus, one morning at breakfast, wlien 
Dominie Thompson the tutor was present, Scott 
was going on with great glee to relate an anecdote 
of the laird of Macnab, " who, poor feUow ! " pre- 
mised he, « is dead and gone " — " Why, Mr. 



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ABB0T8F0RD, 281 

Scott,'* excduimed the good lady, " Macnab 's not 
dead, is he ? " — " Faith, my dear," replied Scott^ 
with humorous gravity, " if he 's not dead they V© 
done him great injustice, — for they Ve buried 
him." 

The joke passed harmless and unnoticed by 
Mrs. Scott, but hit the poor Dominie just as he 
had raised a cup of tea to his lips, causing a burst 
of laughter which sent half of the contents about 
the table. 

After break&st, Scott was occupied for some 
time correcting proof-sheets, which he had re* 
ceived by the mail. The novel of " Rob Boy," as 
I have already observed, was at that time in the 
press, and I supposed them to be the proof-sheets 
of that work. The authorship of the Waverly 
novels was still a matter of conjecture and un- 
certainty ; though few doubted their being princi- 
pally written by Scott. One proof to me of his 
being the author, was that he never adverted to 
them. A man so fond of anything Scottish, and 
anything relating to national history or local le- 
gend, could not have been mute respecting such 
productions, had they been written by another. 
He was fond of quoting the works of his contem- 
poraries ; he was continually reciting scraps of 
border songs, or relating anecdotes of border story. 
With respect to his own poems and their merits, 
however, he was mute, and while with him I ob- 
served a scrupulous silence on the subject. 

I may here mention a singular fact, of which 
i was not aware at the time, that Scott was very 



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2S2 CRAYON MI8CELLAN7. 

reserved with his children respecting his own 
writings, and was even disinclined to their read« 
ing his romantic poems. I learnt this, some time 
after, from a passage in one of his letters to me, 
adverting to a set of the American miniature edi- 
tion of his poems, which, on my return to Eng- 
land, I forwarded to one of the young ladies. 
" In my hurry," writes he, " I have not thanked 
you, in Sophia's name, for the kind attention 
which furnished her with the American volumes. 
I am not quite sure I can add my own, siQoe 
you have made her acquainted with much more 
of papa's folly than she would otherwise have 
learned ; for I have taken special care they should 
never see any of these things during their earlier 
years." 

To return to the thread of my narrative. 
When Scott had got through his brief literary 
occupation, we set out on a ramble. The young 
ladies started to accompany us, but had not gone 
far when they met a poor old laborer and his 
distressed femily, and turned back to take them to 
the house and relieve them. 

On passing the bounds of Abbotsford, we 
came upon a bleak-looking farm, with a forlorn 
crazy old manse, or farm-house, standing in naked 
desolation. This, however, Scott told me was 
an ancient hereditary property called Lauckend, 
about as valuable as the patrimonial estate of Don 
Quixote, and which, in like manner, conferred an 
hereditary dignity upon its proprietor, who was 
a laird, and, though poor as a rat, prided him- 
self upon his ancient blood, and the standing 



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ABBOTBFOBD. 288 

of his house. He was acoordin^y called Lauck* 
end, acoording to the Scottish custom of naming 
a man after his family estate, but he was more 
generally known through the country round by 
the name of Lauckie Long Legs, from the length 
of his limbs. While Scott was giving this ac- 
count of him, we saw him at a distance striding 
along one of his fields, with his plaid fluttering 
about him, and he seemed well to deserve his 
appellation, for he looked all legs and tartan. 

Lauckie knew nothing of the world beyond his 
neighborhood. Scott told me, that, on returning 
to Abbotsford from his visit to France, immedi- 
ately after the war, he was called on by his 
neighbors generally, to inquire after foreign parts. 
Among the number, came Lauckie Long Legs 
and an old brother as ignorant as himself. They 
had many inquiries to make about the French, 
whom they seemed to consider some remote and 
Bemi-barbarous horde. "And what like are thae 
barbarians in their own country ? " said Lauckie, 
" can they write ? — can they cipher ? ** He was 
quite astonished to learn that they were nearly as 
much advanced in civilization as the gude folks 
of Abbotsford. 

•After living for a long time in single blessed- 
ness, Lauckie all at once, and not long before my 
visit to the neighborhood, took it into his head 
to get married. The neighbors were all sur- 
prised ; but the &mily connection, who were as 
proud as they were poor, were grievously scan- 
dalized, for they thought the young woman on 
'Whom he had set his mind quite beneath him. It 



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284 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 



\ in yain, boweyer, that they remonstrated on 
the misalliance he was about to make : he was 
not to be swayed from his determination. Ar« 
raying himself in his best, and saddling a gaunt 
steed that might have rivalled Bosinante, and 
placing a pillion behind his saddle, he departed to 
wed and bring home the humble lassie who was 
to be made mistress of the venerable hovel of 
Lauckend, and who lived in a village on the op- 
posite side of the Tweed. 

A small event of the kind makes a great stir 
in a little quiet country neighborhood. The word 
soon circulated through the village of Melrose, and 
the cottages in its vicinity, that Lauckie Long Legs 
had gone over the Tweed to fetch home his bride. 
All the good folks assembled at the bridge to 
await his return. Lauckie, however, disappointed 
them ; for he crossed the river at a distant ford, 
and conveyed his bidde safe to his mansion, with- 
out being perceived. 

Let me step forward in the course of events 
and relate the fate of poor Lauckie, as it was com- 
municated to me a year or two afterwards in a let- 
ter by Scott From the time of his marriage he 
had no longer any peace, owing to the constant 
intermeddlings of his relations, who would not 
permit him to be happy in his own way, but en- 
deavored to set him at variance with his wife. 
Lauckie refused to credit any of their stories to 
her disadvantage ; but the incessant warfare he 
had to wage in defence of her good name, wore 
out both flesh and spirit His last conflict was 
with his own brothers, in front of his paternal 



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ABBOTSFORD. 285 

mansion. A fuiious scolding-match took place 
between them ; Lauckie made a vehement profes- 
sion of &ith in fa^^or of her immaculate honestj, 
and then fell dead at the threshold of his own 
door. His person, his character, his name, his 
1»tory, and his fate, entitled him to he immortal- 
ized in one of Scott's novels, and I looked to rec- 
ognize him in some of the succeeding works from 
ihis pen ; but I looked in vain. 

Ailer passing bj the domains of honest 
Lauckie, Scott pointed out, at a distance, the Eil- 
don stone. There in ancient days stood the Eil- 
don tree, beneath which Thomas the Rhymer, 
acoording to popular tradition, dealt forth his 
prophecies, some of which stiU exist in antiquated 
ballads. 

Here we turned up a little glen with a small 
bum or brook whimpering and dashing along it, 
making an occasional waterfall, and overhung in 
some places with mountain-ash and weeping- 
birch. We are now, said Scott, treading classic, 
or rather fairy ground. This is the haunted glen 
of Thomas the Rhymer, where he met i?^ith the 
queen of fairy land ; and this the bogle bum, or 
goblin brook, along which she rode on her dap- 
ple-gray palfrey, with silver bells ringing at the 
bridle. 

" Here," said he, pausing, " is Huntley Bank, 
on which Thomas the Rhymer lay musing and 
Bleeping when he saw, or dreamt he saw, the 
queen of Elfland : — 



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286 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

** True Thomas lay on Hnntlie baak; 
A ferlie he spied wi' his e'e; 
And there he saw a ladye Ijright, 
Come ridmg down by the Eildon tvee. 

** Her skirt was o* the grass green silk, 
Her mantle o' the velvet fyne ; 
At ilka tett of her horse's mane 
Hang fifty siller bells and nine.'* 

Here Scott repeated several of the stanzas and 
recounted the circumstance of Thomas the Ithym-* 
er's interview with the fairy, and his being trans- 
ported by her to fairy land — 

*' And til seven years were gone and past, 
True Thomas on earth was never seen.*' 

It is a fine old story, said he, and might be wrought 
up into a capital tale. 

Scott continued on, leading the way as usual, 
and limping up the wizard glen, talking as he 
went, but as his back was toward me, I could 
only hear the deep growling tones of his voice, 
like the low breathing of an organ, without dis- 
tinguishing the words, until pausing, and turning 
his face towards me, I found he was reciting some 
scrap df border minstrelsy about Thomas the 
Ehymer. This was continually the case in my 
ramblings with him about this storied neighbor- 
hood. His mind was fraught with the tradition- 
ary fictions connected with every object around 
him, and he would breathe it forth as he went, 
apparently as much for his own gratification at 
for that of his companion. 

^ Nor hill, nor brook, we paced along, 
But had itB legend or its song." 



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ABBOTSFORD. 287 

His Toice was deep and sonorous, he spoke with 
a Scottish accent^ and with somewhat of the 
Northumbrian " burr," which, to my mind, gave 
a doric strength and simplicity to his elocution. 
His recitation of poetry was, at times, magnifi- 
cent. 

I think it was in the course of this ramble that 
my friend Hamlet, the blade greyhound, got into 
a sad scrape. The dogs were beating about the 
glens and fields as usual, and had been for some 
time out of sight, when we heard a barking at 
some distance to the left. Shortly after we saw 
some sheep scampering on the hiUs, with the dogs 
after them. Scott applied to his lips the ivory 
whistle, always hanging at his button-hole, and 
soon called in the culprits, excepting Hamlet. 
£[astening up a bank which commanded a view* 
along a fold or hollow of the hills, we beheld the 
sable prince of Denmark standing by the bleeding 
body of a sheep. The car6ass was still warm, 
the throat bore marks of the fatal grip, and Ham- 
let's muzzle was stained with blood. Never was 
culprit more completely caught in flagrante ddictu. 
I supposed the doom of poor Hamlet to be sealed ; 
for no higher offence can be c6mmitted by a dog 
in a country abounding with sheep-walks. Scott, 
however, had a greater value for his dogs than 
for his sheep. They were his companions and 
friends. Hamlet, too, though an irregular, imper- 
tinent kind of youngster, was evidently a favor- 
ite. He would not for some time believe it could 
be he who had killed the sheep. It must have 
been some cur of the neighborhood, that had 

19 

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38$ CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

made off on our approach, and left poor Hamlet 
in the lurch, Proo&, however, were too strongs 
and Hamlet was generallj condemned. ^' Well, 
well," said Scott, " it 's partly my own fitult. I 
have given up coursing for some .time past, and 
the poor dog has had no chance after game to 
take the fire edge off of him. If he was put 
after a hare occasionally, he never would meddle 
with sheep.'' 

I understood, afterwards, that Scott actually 
got a pony, and went out now and then coursing 
with Hamlet, who, in consequence, showed no 
fiirther inclination for mutton. 

A further stroll among the hills brought us to 
what Scott pronounced the remains of a Roman 
bamp, and as we sat upon a hillpck which had 
once formed a part of the ramparts, he pointed 
out the traces of the lines and bulwarks, and the • 
praetorium, and showed a knowledge of castrama- 
tation that would not have disgraced the antiqua- 
rian Oldbuck himself. Indeed, various circum- 
stances that I observed about Scott during my 
visit, concurred to persuade me that many of the 
antiquarian humors of Monkbams were taken 
from his own richly compounded character, and 
that some of the scenes and personages of that 
admirable novel were furnished by his immediate 
neighborhood. 

He gave me several anecdotes of a noted pau- 
per named Andrew Gemmells, or Gammel, as it 
was pronounced, who had once flourished on the 
banks of Gralla Water, immediately opposite Ab- 



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ABB0T8F0RD, 289 

botsfi>rd, and whom he had seen and talked and 
joked with when a boy ; and I instantly reoog- 
nized the likeness of that mirror of philosophic 
vagabonds and Nestor of beggars, Edie Ochiltree. 
I was on the point of pronouncing the name and 
recognizing the portrait, when I recollected the 
incognito observed by Scott with respect to his 
novels, and checked myself; but it was one among 
many things that tended to convince me of his 
authorship. 

His picture of Andrew Gemmells exactly ac- 
corded with that of Edie as to his height, car- 
riage, and soldier-like air, as well as his arch and 
sarcastic humor. His home, if home he had, was 
at Gallashiels ; but he went " daundering " about 
the country, along the green shaws and beside the ^ 
bums, and was a kind of walking chronicle 
throughout the valleys of the Tweed, the Ettrick, 
and the Yarrow ; carrying the gossip from house 
to house, commenting on the inhabitants and 
their concerns, and never hesitating to give them 
a dry rub as to any of their faults or follies. 

A shrewd beggar like Andrew Gemmells, 
Scott added, who could sing the old Scotch airs, 
tell stories and traditions, and gossip away the 
long winter evenings, was by no means an un- 
welcome visitor at a lonely manse or cottage. 
The children would run to welcome him, and 
place his stool in a warm comer of the ingle 
nook, and the old folks would receive him as a 
privUeged guest 

As to Andrew, he looked upon them all as a 
parson does upon his parishioners, and considered 

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290 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

llie alms he received as much his due as the other 
does his tithes. I rather think, added Soott, An- 
drew considered himself more of a gentleman 
than those who toiled for a living, and that he 
secretly looked down upon the painstaking peas- 
ants that fed and sheltered him. 

He had derived his aristocratical notions in 
some degree from being admitted occasionally to 
a precarious sociability with some of the small 
country gentry, who were sometimes in want of 
company to help while away the time. With 
these Andrew would now and then play at cards 
and dice, and he never lacked <' siller in pouch " 
to stake on a game, which he did with the perfect 
air of a man to whom money was a matter of 
little moment ; and no one could lose his money 
with more gentlemanlike coolness. 

Among those who occasionally admitted him 
to this familiarity, was old John Scott of Galla, a 
man of family, who inhabited his paternal man- 
sion of Torwoodlee. Some distinction of rank, 
however, was still kept up. The laird sat on the 
inside of the window and the beggar on the out- 
side, and they played cards on the silL 

Andrew now and then told the laird a piece of 
his mind very freely ; especially on one occasion, 
when he had sold some of his paternal lands to 
build himself a larger house with the proceeds. 
The speech of honest Andrew smacks of the 
shrewdness of Edie Ochiltree. 

" It 's a' varra weel — it 's a' varra weel, Tor- 
woodlee," said he ; " but who would ha' thought 
that your father's son would ha' sold two gude 



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ABBOTSFORD. 291 

estates to build a Shaw's (cuckoo's) nest on the 
side of ahiU?" 

That day there was an arrival at Abbotsford 
of two EngHsh tourists : one a gentleman of for- 
tune and landed estate, the other a young clergy- 
man whom he appeared to have under his patron- 
age, and to have brought with him as a travelling 
companion. 

The patron was one of those well-bred, com- 
monplace gentlemen with which England is over- 
run. He had great deference for Scott, and 
endeavored to acquit himself learnedly in his 
company, aiming continually at abstract disquisi- 
tions, for which Scott had little relish. The 
conversation of the latter, as usual, was studded 
with anecdotes and stories, some of them of great 
pith and humor : the well-bred gentleman was 
either too dull to feel their point, or too decorous 
to indulge in hearty merriment ; the honest par- 
son, on the contrary, who was not too renned to 
be happy, laughed loud and long at every joke, 
and enjoyed them with the zest of a man who 
has more merriment in his heart than coin in his 
pocket 

After they were gone, some comments were 
made upon their different deportments. Scott 
spoke very respectftdly of the good breeding and 
measured manners of the man^jof wealth, but 
with a kindlier feeling of the honest parson, and 
the homely but hearty enjoyment with which he 
relished every pleasantry. " I doubt," said he, 
< whether the parson's lot in life is not the best ; 



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29S CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

if he cannot command as many of the good 
things of this world by his own parse as hia pat- 
ron can, he beats him all hollow in his enjoyment 
of them when set before him by others. Upon 
the whole," added he, " I rather think I prefer 
the honest parson's good homor to his patron's 
good breeding; I have a great regard for a 
hearty langher." 

He went on to speak of the great influx of 
English travellers, which of late years had inun- 
dated Scotland; and doubted whether they had 
not injured the old-&shioned Scottish character. 
« Formerly, they came here occasionally as sports- 
men," said he, '^ to shoot moor-game, without any 
idea of looking at scenery ; and they moved about 
the country in hardy simple style, coping with 
the country people in their own way ; but now 
they come rolling about in their equipages, to see 
ruins, and spend money ; and their lavish extrav- 
agance has played the vengeance with the com- 
mon people. It has made them rapacious in 
their dealings with strangers, greedy after money, 
and extortionate in their demands for the most 
trivial services. Formerly," continued he, " the 
poorer classes of our people were comparatively 
disinterested; they offered their services gratui- 
tously, in promoting the amusement, or aiding the 
curiosity of strangers, and were gratified by the 
smallest compensation; but now they mi^e a 
trade of showing rocks and ruins, and are as 
greedy as Italian cicerones. They look upon the 
English as so many walking money-bags ; the 
more they are shaken and poked^ the more tfaej 
will leave behind them." 

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ABBOTSFORD. 293 

I told him that he had a great deal to answer 
for on that head, since it was the romantic asso- 
ciations he had thrown by his writings over so 
many out-of-the-way places in Scotland, that had 
brought in the influx of curious travellers. 

Scott laughed, and said he believed I might be 
in some measure in the right, as he recollected a 
circumstance in point Being one time at Glen- 
ross, an old woman who kept a small inn, which 
had but little custom, was uncommonly officious 
in her attendance upon him, and absolutely in- 
commoded him with her civilities. The secret 
at length came out. As he was about to depart, 
she addressed him with many curtsies, and said 
she understood he was the gentleman that had 
written a bonnie book about Loch Katrine. She 
begged him to write a little about their lake also, 
for she understood his book had done the inn at 
lx>ch Katrine a muckle deal of good. 

On the following day I made an excursion 
with Scott and the young ladies to Dryburgh 
Abbey. We went in an open carriage, drawn by 
two sleek old black horses, for which Scotfc 
seemed to have an affection, as he had for every 
dumb animal that belonged to him. Our road 
lay through a variety of scenes, rich in poetical 
and historical associatitjiiSj about Tni>Rt ot" whicli^ 
Scott had something to relate. la oue pwrtj 
the drive he pointed to an old bonk^r 1c€ 
fortress, on the summit of a naked UiHt ' 
miles off, which he calleti Smallholm Towe 

rocky knoll on which it stood, (L^ 
Knowe crags." It was a place, he ^ 



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294 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

liarlj dear to him, from the recollections of child- 
hood. His grand&ther had lived there in the 
old Smallholm Grange, or farm-house; and he 
had been sent there, when but two years old, on 
account of his lameness, that he might have the 
benefit of the pure air of the hills, and be under 
the care of his grandmother and aunts. 

In the introduction of one of the cantos of 
" Marmion," he has depicted his grandfather, and 
the fireside of the farm-house ; and has given an 
amusing picture of himself in his boyish yectrs. 

" Still with vain fondness could I trace 
Anew each kind familiar fiice, 
That brightened at our evening fire; 
From the thatched mansion^s gray-haired sire, 
Wise without learning, plain and good, 
And sprung of Scotland's gentler blood; 
Whose eye in age, quick, clear and keen, 
Showed what in youth its glance had been; 
Whose doom discording neighbors sought, 
Content with equity unbought; 
To him the venerable priest, 
Our frequent and familiar guest, 
Whose life and manners well could paint 
Alike the student and the saint; 
Alas ! whose speech too oft I broke 
With gambol rude and timeless joke; 
For I was wayward, bold, and wild, 
A self-willed imp, a grandame*s child; 
But half a plague, and half a jest. 
Was still endured, beloved, carest," 

It was, he said, during his residence at Small* 
holm crags, that he first imbibed his passion for 
legendary tales, border traditions, and old national 
Bongs and ballads. His grandmother and aunts 
were well versed in that kind of lore so current 



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ABBOTarORD. 295 

in Scottish country Kfe. They used to recount 
them m long, gloomy winter days, and about the 
ingle nook at night, in conclave with their gossip 
visitors ; and little Walter would sit and listen 
with greedy ear ; thus taking into his infant mind 
the seeds of many a splendid fiction. 

There was an old shepherd, he said, in the ser- 
vice of the family, who used to sit under the 
sunny wall, and tell marvellous stories, and recite 
old-time ballads, as he knitted stockings. Scott 
used to be wheeled out in his chair, in fine 
weather, and would sit beside the old man, and 
listen to him for hours. 

The situation of Sandy Knowe was favorable 
both for story-teller and listener. It commanded 
a wide view over all the border country, with its 
feudal towers, its haunted glens, and wizard 
streams. As the old shepherd told his tales, he 
could point out the very scene of action. Thus, 
before Scott could walk, he was made familiar 
with the scenes of his future stories ; they were 
all seen as through a magic medium, and took 
that tinge of romance which they ever after re- 
tained in his imagination^ From the height of 
Sandy Knowe he may be said to have had the 
first look-out upon the promised land of his future 
glory. 

On referring to Scotfs works, I find many of 
the circumstances related in this conversation 
about the old tower, and the boyish scenes con- 
nected with it, recorded in the introduction to 
■* Jklarmion," already cited. This was frequently 
the case with Scott ; incidents and feelings that 



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296 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

had appeared in his writings, were apt to bo 
mingled up in his conversation, for they had been 
taken from what he had witnessed and felt in 
real life, and were connected with those scenes 
among which he lived, and moved, and had his 
being. I make no scruple at quoting the passage 
relative to the tower, though it repeats much of 
the foregone imagery, and with vastly superior 
effect 

" Thus, while I ape the measure wild 
Of tales that charmed me yet a child, 
Rude though thej be, still with the chime 
Return the thoughts of early time; 
And feelings roused in lifers first day, 
Glow in the line, and prompt the lay. 
Then rise those crags, that mountain tower. 
Which charmed my fancy's wakening lionr, 
Though no broad river swept along 
To claim perchance heroic song; 
Though sighed no groves in tnmimergale 
To prompt of love a softer tale ; 
Though scarce a puny streamlet's speed 
Claimed homage from a shepherd's reed; 
Tet was poetic impulse given, 
By the green hill and clear blue heaven. 
It was a barren scene, and wild, 
Where naked cliffs were rudely piled; 
But ever and anon between 
Lay velvet tufts of loveliest green; 
And well the lonely infant knew 
Recesses where the wall-flower grew. 
And honeysuckle loved to crawl 
Up the low crag and ruined walL 
I deemed such nooks the sweetest shade 
The sun in all his round surveyed; 
And still I thought that shattered tower 
The mightiest work of human power; 
And marvelled as the aged hind 



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ABBOTSFORD. 297 

With some strange tale bewitched my mind 

Of forayers, who, with headlong force, 

Down irom that strength had sparred their ]ioi8e» 

Their southern rapine to renew, 

Far in the distant Cheviot's blue. 

And, home returning, filled the hall 

With revel, wassail-rout, and brawl — 

Methought that still with tramp and dang 

The gateway's broken arches rang; 

Methought grim features, seamed with scars 

Glared through the window's rusty bars. 

And ever by the winter hearth, 

Old tales I heard of woe or mirth. 

Of lovers' slights, of ladies' charms, 

Of witches' spells, of warriors' arms; 

Of patriot battles won of old 

By Wallace wight and Bruce the bold; 

Of later fields offend and fight. 

When pouring from the Highland height, 

The Scottish clans, in headlong sway, 

Had swept the scarlet ranks away. 

While stretched at length upon the floor, 

Again I fought each combat o'er. 

Pebbles and shells, in order Itud, 

The mimic ranks of war displayed; 

And onward still the Scottish Lion bore. 

And still the scattered Southron fled before." 

Scott eyed the distant height of Sandy Knowe 
«nth an earnest gaze as we rode along, and said 
he had often thought of buying the place, repair- 
ing the old tower, and making it his residence. 
He has in some measure, however, paid off his 
early debt of gratitude, in clothing it with poetic 
and romantic associations, by his tale of "The 
Eve of St John." It is to be hoped that those 
who actually possess so interesting a monument 
of Scott's early days, will preserve it from further 
dilapidation. 

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298 CRAYON MIHCELLANY. 

Not far from Sandy Knowe, Soott pointed oat 
another old border hold, standing on the summit 
of a hill, which had been a kind of enchanted 
castle to him in his boyhood. It was the tower 
of Bemerside, the baronial residence of the Haigs, 
or De Hagas, one of the oldest families of the 
border. "There had seemed to him/' he said, 
** almost a wizard spell hanging over it, in conse- 
quence of a prophecy of Thomas the Rhymer, 
in which, in his young days, he most potently be- 
lieved:" 

*' Betide, betide, whatever betide, 
Haig shall be Haig of Bemerside." 

Scott added some particulars which showed 
that, in the present instance, the venerable Thomas 
had not proved a false prophet, tor it was a noted 
fact, that, amid all the changes and chances of the 
border — through all the feuds, and forays, and 
sackings, and burnings, which had reduced most 
of the castles to ruins, and the proud families that 
once possessed them to poverty, the tower of 
Bemerside stiU remained unscathed, and was still 
the strong-hold of the ancient family of Haig. 

Prophecies, however, often insure their own 
fulfilment. It is very probable that the predic- 
tion of Thomas the Rhymer has linked the Haigs 
to their tower, as their rock of safety, and has 
induced them to ding to it, almost superstitiously, 
through hardships and inconveniences that would 
otherwise have caused its abandonment 

I afterwards saw, at Dryburgh Abbey, the 
burying-place of this predestinated and tenacious 



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ABJBOTSFORD. 299 

family, the inscription of which showed the value 
they set upon their antiquity : — 

"Locus Sepaltane, 

Antiquessimse Familia 

De Haga 

De Bemerside/* 

In reverting to the days of his childhood, Scott 
observed that the lameness which had disabled 
him in infency gradually decreased ; he soon ac- 
quired strength in his limbs, and though he al- 
ways limped, he became, even in boyhood, a great 
walker. He used frequently to stroll from home 
and wander about the country for days together, 
picking up all kinds of local gossip, and observ- 
ing popular scenes and characters. His father 
used to be vexed with him for this wandering 
propensity, and, shaking his head, would say he 
fancied the boy would make nothing but a ped- 
ler. As he grew older, he became a keen sports- 
man, and passed much of his time hunting and 
shooting. His field-sports led him into the most 
wild and unfrequented parts of the country, and 
in this way he picked up much of that local 
knowledge which he has since evinced in his writ- 
ings. 

His first visit to Loch Katrine, he said, was in 
his boyish days, on a shooting excursion. The 
L^land, which he has made the romantic residence 
of the Lady of the Lake, was then garrisoned 
by an old man and his wife. Their house was 
vacant: they had put the key under the door, 
and were absent fishing. It was at that time a 

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800 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

peaceful residence, but became afterwards a resort 
of smugglers, until they were ferreted out 

In after-years, when Scott began to turn this 
local knowledge to literary account, he revisited 
many of those scenes of his early ramblings, and 
endeavored to secure the ftigitive remains of the 
traditions and songs that had charmed his boy- 
hood. When collecting materials for his " Border 
Minstrelsy," he used, he said, to go from cottage to 
cottage and make the old wives repeat all they 
knew, if but two lines ; and by putting these 
scraps together, he retrieved many a fine charac- 
teristic old ballad or tradition &om oblivion. 

I regret to say that I can recollect scarce any- 
thing of our visit to Dryburgh Abbey. It is on 
the estate of the Earl of Buchan. lie religious 
edifice is a mere ruin, rich in Gothic antiquities, 
but especially interesting to Scott, from containing 
the family vault, and the tombs and monuments 
of his ancestors. He appeared to feel much 
chagrin at their being in the possession, and sub- 
ject to the intermeddlings of the Earl, who was 
represented as a nobleman of an eccentric char- 
acter. The latter, however, set great value on 
these sepulchral relics, and had expressed a lively 
anticipation of one day or other having the honor 
of burying Scott, and adding his monument to 
the collection, which he intended should be worthy 
of the " mighty minstrel of the north," — a pro- 
spective compliment which was by no means rel- 
ished by the object of it 

Oae of my pleasant rambles with Scott, about 

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ADB0T8F0RL, 801 

the neighborhood of Abbotsford, was taken in 
company with Mr. William Laidlaw, the steward 
of his estate. This was a gentleman for whom 
Scott entertained a particular value. He had 
been bom to a competency, had been well edu- 
cated, his mind was richly stored with varied in- 
formation, and he was a man of sterling moral 
worth. Having been reduced by misfortune, 
Scott had got him to take charge of his estate. 
He lived at a small farm on the hill-side above 
Abbotsford, and was treated by Scott as a cher- 
ished and confidential friend, rather than a de- 
pendant. 

As the day was showery, Scott was attended 
by one of his retaiaers, named Tommie Purdie, 
who carried his' plaid, and who deserves especial 
mention. Sophia Scott used to call him her 
father's grand vizier, and she gave a playful ac- 
count one evening, as she was hanging on her 
father's arm, of the consultations which he and 
Tommie used to have about matters relative to 
farming. Purdie was tenacious of his opinions, 
and he and Scott would have long disputes in 
front of the house, as to something that was to 
' be done on the estate, until the latter, fairly tired 
out, would abandon the ground and the argument, 
exclaiming, " Well, well, Tom, have it your own 
way." 

After a time, however, Purdie would present 
himself at the door of the parlor, and observe, 
* I ha' been thinking over Ihe matter, and, upon 
the whole, I think I '11 take your honor's advice." 

Scott laughed heartily when this anecdote was 



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802 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

told of him. "• It was with him and Tom," he 
saidy '< as it was with an old laird and a pet ser* 
vant, whom he had indulged until he was positive 
beyond all endurance. ^ This won't do ! ' cried 
the old laird, in a passion, ' we can't live together 
any longer — we must part.' * An' where the 
deil does your honor mean to go ? ' replied the 
other." 

I would, moreover, observe of Tom Purdie, 
that he was a firm believer in ghosts, and war- 
locks, and all kinds of old wives' fable. He was 
a religious man, too, mingling a little degree of 
Scottish pride in his devotion; for though his 
salary was but twenty pounds a year, he had 
managed to afford seven poimds for a family 
Bible. It is true, he had one hundred pounds 
dear of the world, and was looked up to by his 
comrades as a man of property. 

In the course of our morning's walk we stop- 
ped at a small house belonging to one of the la- 
borers on the estate. The object of Scott's visit 
was to inspect a relic which had been digged up 
in the Roman camp, and which, if I recollect 
right, he pronounced to have been a tongs. It 
was produced by the cottager's wife, a ruddy, 
healthy-looking dame, whom Scott addressed by 
the name of Ailie. As he stood regarding the 
relic, turning it round and round, and making 
comments upon it, half grave, half comic, with the 
cottage group around him, all joining occasionally 
in the colloquy, the inimitable character of Monk- 
bams was again brought to mind, and I seemed 
to see before me that prince of antiquarians and 



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ABB0T8F0RD. 808 

humorists holding forth to his unlearned and un- 
believing neighbors. 

Whenever Scott touched, in this way, upon 
local antiquities, and in all his familiar conversa- 
tions about local traditions and superstitions, there 
was always a sly and quiet humor running at the 
bottom of his discourse, and playing about his 
countenance, as if he sported with the subject. It 
seemed to me as if he distrusted his own enthu- 
siasm, and was disposed to droll upon his own 
humors and peculiarities, yet, at the same time, a 
poetic gleam in his eye would show that he really 
took a strong relish and interest in them. ^' It 
was a pity,'* he said, " that antiquarians were 
generally so dry, for the subjects they handled 
were rich in historical and poetic recollections, 
in picturesque details, in quaint and heroic char- 
acteristics, and in all kinds of curious and obso- 
lete ceremonials. They are always groping 
among the rarest materials for poetry, but they 
have no idea of turning them to poetic use. Now 
every fragment from old times has, in some de- 
gree, its story with it, or gives an inkling of some- 
thing characteristic of the circumstances and man- 
ners of its day, and so sets the imagination at 
work." 

For my own part, I never met with antiquarian 
so delightful, either in his writings or his conver- 
sation; and the quiet subacid humor that was 
prone to mingle in his disquisitions, gave them, to 
me, a peculiar and exquisite flavor. But he 
seemed, in fact, to undervalue everything that 
concerned himself. The play of his genius was 
20 

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30A CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

to easy that he was nnoonsdoiis of its mighty 
power, and made light of those sports of intellect' 
that shamed the efforts and labors of other minds. 

Our ramble this morning tooJl us again up the 
Rhymer^s Glen, and bj Huntlej Bank, and Hunt- 
ley Wood, and the silver waterfall overhung with 
weeping-birches and mountain-ashes, those delicate 
and beautiful trees which grace the green shaws 
and burnsides of Scotland. The heather, too, that 
closely-woven robe of Scottish landscape which 
covers the nakedness of its hills and mountains, 
tinted the neighborhood with soft and rich colors. 
As we ascended the glen, the prospects opened 
upon us ; Melrose, with its towers and pinnacles, 
lay below ; beyond was the Eildon hills, the Cow- 
den Bjiowes, the Tweed, the Galla Water, and all 
the storied vicinity ; the whole landscape varied 
by gleams of sunshine and driving showers. 

Scott, as usual, took the lead, limping albng 
with great activity, and in joyous mood, giving 
scraps of border rhymes and border stories ; two 
or three times in the course of our walk there 
were drizzling showers, which I supposed would 
put an end to our ramble, but my companions 
trudged on as unconcernedly as if it had been 
fine weather. 

At length, I asked whether we had not better 
seek some shelter. " True," said Scott, " I did 
not recollect that you were not accustomed to our 
Scottish mists. This is a ladirymose dimate, 
evermore showering. We, however, are children 
of the mist, and must not mind a little whimper- 
ing of the clouds any more than a man must 



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ABB0T8F0RD. 805 

miiid the weeping of an hysterical wife. As you 
are not accustomed to be wet through, as a mat- 
ter of course, in a morning's walk, we wiU bide 
a bit under the lee of this bank until the shower 
is over." Taking his seat under shelter of a 
thicket, he called to his man George for his tar- 
tan ; then turning to me, " Come," said he, " come 
under my plaidy, as the old song goes ; " so, mak- 
ing me nestle down beside him, he wrapped a part 
of the plaid round me, and took me, as he said, 
under his wing. 

While we were thus nestled together, he pointed 
to a hole in the opposite bank of the glen. That, 
he said, was the hole of an old gray badger, who 
was, doubtless, snugly housed in this bad weather. 
Sometimes he saw him at the entrance of his hole, 
like a hermit at the door of his cell, telling his 
beads, or reading a homily. He had a great re- 
spect for the venerable anchorite, and would not 
suffer him to be disturbed. He was a kind of 
successor to Thomas the Rhymer, and perhaps 
might be Thomas himself returned from fairy 
land, but still under fairy spell. 

Some accident turned the conversation upon 
Hogg, the poet, in which Laidlaw, who was 
seated beside us, took a part. Hogg had once 
been a shepherd in the service of his father, and 
Laidlaw gave many interesting anecdotes of him, 
of which I now retain no recollection. They 
used to tend the sheep together when Laidlaw 
was a boy, and Hogg would recite the first strug- 
gling conceptions of his muse. At night, when 
Laidlaw was quartered comfortably in bed, in the 

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806 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

&rm-house, poor Hogg would take to the shep- 
herd's hut, in the field on the hill-side, and there 
lie awake for hours together, and look at the 
stars and make poetry, which he would repeat 
the next day to his companion. 

Scott spoke in warm terms of Hogg, and re- 
peated passages from his beautiful poem of Kel- 
meny, to which he gave great and well-merited 
praise. He gave, also, some amusing anecdotes 
of Hogg and his publisher, Blackwood, who was 
at that time just rising into the bibliographical 
importance which he has since enjoyed. 

Hogg, in one of his poems, I believe the " Pil- 
grims of the Sun," had dabbled a little in meta- 
physics, and, like his heroes, had got into the 
clouds. Blackwood, who began to affect criticism, 
argued stoutly with him as to the necessity of 
omitting or elucidating some obscure passage. 
Hogg was immovable. 

"But, man," said Blackwood, "I dinna ken 
what ye mean in this passage." — " Hout tout, 
man," replied Hogg, impatiently, "I dinna ken 
always what I mean mysel'." There is many a 
metaphysical poet in the same predicament with 
honest Hogg. 

Scott promised to invite the Shepherd to Ab- 
botsford during my visit, and I anticipated much 
gratification in meeting with him, from the ac- 
count I had received of his character and man- 
ners, and the great pleasure I had derived from 
his works. Circumstances, however, prevented 
Scott from performing his promise ; and to my 
great regret I left Scotland without seeing one 
of its most original and national characters. 

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ABBOTSFORD, 807 

When the weather held up,. we oontinned our 
WBiXk until we came to a beautiful sheet of water, 
in the bosom of the mountain, called, if I recol- 
lect right, the Lake of Cauldshiel. Scott prided 
himself much upon this little Mediterranean sea 
in his dominions, and hoped I was not too much 
spoiled by our great lakes in America to relish it. 
He proposed to take me out to the centre of it, 
to a fine point of view : for which purpose we 
embarked in a small boat, which had been put on 
the lake by his neighbor, Lord SomerviUe. As 
I was about to step on board, I observed in large 
letters on one of the benches, " Search No. 2." 
I paused iR)r a moment and repeated the inscrip- 
tion aloud, trying to recollect something I had 
heard or read to which it alluded. " Pshaw," 
cried Scott, " it is only some of Lord Somerville's 
nonsense ; — get in ! " In an instant scenes in the 
"Antiquary" connected with "Search No. 1," 
flashed upon my mind. " Ah ! I remember now," 
said I, and with a laugh took my seat, but ad- 
verted no more to the circumstance. 

We had a pleasant row about the lake, which 
commanded some pretty scenery. The most in- 
teresting circumstance connected with it, however, 
according to Scott, was, that it was haunted by a 
bogle in the shape of a water-bull, which lived 
in the deep parts, and now and then came forth 
upon dry land and made a tremendous roaring, 
that shook the very hills. This story had been 
current in the vicinity from time immemorial ; — - 
there was a man living who declared he had seen 
the bull, — and he was believed by many of his 



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508 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

simple neighbors. ^^ I don't choose to contradict 
the tale," said Scott, " for I am willing to have 
mj lake stocked with any fish, flesh, or fowl that 
my neighbors think proper to put into it; and 
these old wives' fables are a kind of property in 
Scotland that belong to the estates and go with 
the soiL Our streams and lochs are like the 
rivers and pools in Germany, that have all their 
Wasser-Nixen, or water-witches, and I have a 
fancy for these kind of amphibious bogles and 
hobgoblins." 

Scott went on, after we had landed, to make 
many remarks, mingled with picturesque anec- 
dotes concerning the fabulous beings with which 
the Scotch were apt to people the wild streams 
and lochs that occur in the solemn and lonely 
scenes of their mountains ; and to compare them 
with similar superstitions among the northern na- 
tions of Europe ; but Scotland, he said, was 
above all other countries for this wild and vivid 
progeny of the fancy, from the nature of the 
scenery, the misty magnificence and vagueness of 
the climate, the wild and gloomy events of its 
history ; the clannish divisions of its people ; 
their local feelings, notions, and prejudices ; the 
individuality of their dialect, in which' all kinds 
of odd and peculiar notions were incorporated ; 
by the secluded life of their mountaineers ; the 
lonely habits of their pastoral people, much of 
whose time was passed on the solitary hill-sides ; 
Iheir traditional songs, which clothed every rock 
and stream with old-world stories, handed down 



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ABBOTSFORJ)^ 809 

from age to age, and generation to generation. 
The Scottish mind, he said, was made up of 
poetry and strong common sense ; and the very 
strength of the latter gave perpetuity and luxu- 
riance to the former. It was a strong tenacious 
soil, into which, when once a seed of poetry fell, 
it struck deep root and brought forth abundantly. 
" You will never weed these popular stories and 
songs and superstitions out of Scotland," said he. 
^ It is not so much that the people believe in 
them, as that they delight in them. They belong 
to the native hills and streams of which they are 
fond, and to the history of their forefathers, of 
which they are proud." 

" It would do your heart good," continued he, 
" to see a number of our poor country people 
seated round the ingle nook, which is generally 
capacious enough, and passing the long dark 
dreary winter nights listening to some old wife, 
or strolling gaberlunzie, dealing out auld-world 
stories about bogles and warlocks, or about raids 
and forays, and border skirmish^ ; or reciting 
some ballad stuck full of those fighting names that 
stir up a true Scotchman's blood like the sound 
of a trumpet These traditional tales and ballads 
h^se lived for ages in mere oral circulation, 
bemg passed from father to son, or rather from 
grandam to grandchild, and are a kind of heredi- 
tary property of the poor peasantry, of which it 
would be hard to deprive them, as they have not 
circulating libraries to supply them with works 
of fiction in their place." 

I do not pretend to give the precise words, but, 



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810 CRAYON MiaCELLANT, 

afl nearly as I can fix)m scantj memorandumB and 
vague recollections, the leading ideas of Scott 
I am constantly sensible, however, how far I fall 
short of his copiousness and richness. 

He went on to speak of the elves and sprites, 
so frequent in Scottish legend. " Our fairies, 
however," said he, " though they dress in green, 
and gambol by moonlight about the banks, and 
shaws, and bumsides, are not such pleasant little 
folks as the English fairies, but are apt to bear 
more of the warlock in their natures, and to play 
spiteful tricks. When I was a boy, I used to 
look wistfully at the green hillocks that were 
said to be haunted by fairies, and felt sometimes 
as if I should like to lie down by them and sleep, 
and be carried off to Fairy Land, only that I did 
not like some of the cantrips which used now and 
then to be played off upon visitors." 

Here Scott recounted, in graphic style, and 
with much humor, a little story which used to be 
current in the neighborhood, of an honest burgess 
of Selkirk, who, being at work upon the hill of 
Peatlaw, fell asleep upon one of these "fairy 
knowes," or hillocks. When he awoke, he rubbed 
his eyes and gazed about him with astonishment, 
for he was in the market-place of a great (^, 
with a crowd of people bustling about him, not 
one of whom he knew. At length he accosted a 
by-stander, and asked him the name of the place. 
" Hout, man," replied the other, " are ye in the . 
heart o' Glasgow, and speer the name of it ? " 
The poor man was astonished, and would not be- 
lieve either ears or eyes ; he insisted that he had 



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ABB0T8F0RD. 811 

laid down to sleep but half an hour before on the 
Peadaw, near Selkirk. He came wellnigh be- 
ing taken up for a madman, when, fortunately, a ^ 
Selkirk man came bj, who knew him, and took 
charge of him, and conducted bim back to his 
native place. Here, however, he was likely to 
fare no better, when he spoke of having been 
whisked in his sleep fix)m the Peatlaw to Glas- 
gow. The truth of the matter at length came 
out : his coat, which he had taken off when at 
work on the Peatlaw, was found lying near a 
** fairy knowe" ; and his bonnet, which was miss- 
ing, was discovered on the weathercock of Lan- 
ark steeple. So it was as clear as day that he 
had been carried through the air by the fairies 
while he was sleeping, and his bonnet had been 
blown off by the way. 

I give this little story but meagrely from a 
scanty memorandum; Scott has related it in 
somewhat different style in a note to one of his 
poems ; but in narration these anecdotes derived 
their chief zest, from the quiet but delightful 
humor, the honhommie with which he seasoned 
them, and the sly glance of the eye from under 
his bushy eyebrows, with which they were ac- 
companied. 

That day at dinner we had Mr. Laidlaw and 
his wife, and a female friend who accompanied 
them. The latter was a very intelligent, respect- 
able person, about the middle age, and was 
treated vdth particular attention and courtesy by 
Scott Our dinner was a most agreeable one; 

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812 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

for the guests were evidently cherished yisitors 
to the house, and felt that thej were appreciated. 

When they were gone, Scott spoke of them in 
the most cordial manner. " I vnshed to show 
you," said he, " some of our really excellent, 
plain Scotch people ; not fine gentlemen and la- 
dies, for such you can meet everywhere, and 
they are everywhere the same. The character 
of a nation is not to be learnt fi<om its fine 
folks." 

He then went on with a particular eulogium 
on the lady who had accompanied the Laidlaws. 
She was the daughter, he said, of a poor country 
clergyman, who had died in debt, and left her an 
orphan and destitute. Having had a good plain 
education, she immediately set up a child's school, 
and had soon a numerous fiock under her care, 
by which she earned a decent maintenance. 
That, however, was not her main object. Her 
first care was to pay off her father's debts, that 
no iU word or ill will might rest upon his mem- 
ory. This, by dint of Scottish economy, backed 
by filial reverence and pride, she accomplished, 
though in the effort she subjected herself to 
every privation. Not content with this, she in 
certain instances refused to take pay for the tui- 
tion of the children of some of her neighbors, 
who had befriended her father in his need, and 
had since fallen into poverty. " In a word," added 
Scott, " she is a fine old Scotch girl ; and I de- 
light in her, more than in many a fine lady I 
have known, — and I have known many of the 
finest." 



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ABBOTSFORD. 818 

It is time, however, to draw Uiis rambling nar- 
rative to a close. Several days were passed by 
me, in the way I have attempted to describe, in 
almost constant, familiar, and joyous conversation 
with Scott ; it was as if I were admitted to a 
social communion with Shakspeare, for it was with 
one of a kindred, if not equal genius. Every 
night I retired with my mind filled with delight- 
ful recollections of the day, and every morning 
I rose with the certainty of new enjoyment 
The days thus spent I shall ever look back to as 
among the very happiest of my life, for I was 
conscious at the time of being happy. 

The only sad moment that I experienced at 
Abbotsford was that of my departure ; but it was 
cheered with the prospect of soon returning ; for 
I had promised, after making a tour in the High- 
lands, to come and pass a few more days on the 
banks of the Tweed, when Scott intended to in- 
vite Hogg the poet to meet me. 'I took a kind 
farewell of the family, with each of whom I had 
been highly pleased ; if I have refrained from 
dwelling particularly on their several characters, 
and giving anecdotes of them individually, it is 
because I consider them shielded by the sanc- 
tity of domestic life : Scott, on the contrary, be- 
longs to history. As he accompanied me on foot, 
however, to a small gate on the confines of his 
premises, I could not refrain from expressing the 
enjoyment I had experienced in his domestic cir- 
de, and passing some warm eulogiums on the 
young folks from whom I had just parted. I 
shall never forget his reply. " They have kind 



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314 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

hearts," said he, '^ and that is the main point as to 
human happiness. They love one another, poor 
things, which is everything in domestic life. The 
best wish I can make you, my friend," added he, 
laying his hand upon my shoulder, " is, that when 
you return to your own country you may get 
married, and have a family of young bairns about 
you. If you are happy, there they are to share 
your happiness — and if you are otherwise — 
there they are to comfort you." 

By this time we had reached the gate, when he 
halted, and took my hanji. " I will not say fare- 
well,** said he, " for it is always a painful word, 
but I will say, come again. When you have 
made your tour to the Highlands, come here and 
give me a few more days — but come when you 
please, you will always find Abbotsford open to 
you, and a hearty welcome.'* 

I have thus given, in a rude style, my msdn 
recollections of what occurred during my sojourn 
at Abbotsford, and I feel mortified that I can give 
but such meagre, scattered, and colorless details 
of what was so copious, rich, and varied. Dur- 
ing several days that I passed there, Scott was in 
admirable vein. From early mom until dinner 
time he was rambling about, showing me the 
neighborhood, and during dinner, and imtil late at 
night, engaged in social conversation. No time 
was reserved for himself; he seemed as if his 
only occupation was to entertain me ; and yet I 
was almost an entire stranger to him, one of whom 
he knew nothing but an idle book I had written, 



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ABBOTSFORD, 815 

and which, some years before, had amused him. 
But such was Scott — he appeared to have noth- 
ing to do but lavish his time, attention, and con- 
versation on those around. It was difficult to 
imagine what time he found to write those vol- 
umes that were incessantly issuing from the press ; 
all of which, too, were of a nature to require 
reading and research. I could not find that his 
life was ever otherwise than a life of leisure and 
hap-hazard recreation, such as it was during my 
visit He scarce ever balked a party of pleasure, ' 
or a sporting excursion, and rarely pleaded his 
own concerns as an excuse for rejecting those of 
others. During my visit I heard of other vis- 
itors who had preceded me, and who must have 
kept him occupied for many days, and I have 
had an opportunity of knowing the course of his 
daily life for some time subsequently. Not long 
after my departure from Abbotsford, my friend 
Wilkie arrived there, to paint a picture of the 
Scott family. He found the house full of guests. 
Scott's whole time was taken up in riding and 
driving about the country, or in social conversa- 
tion at home. " All this time," said Wilkie to 
me, ^^ I did not presume to ask Mr. Scott to sit 
for his portrait, for I saw he had not a moment 
to spare ; I waited for the guests to go away, but 
as fast as one went another arrived, and so it 
continued for several dajrs, and with each set he 
was completely occupied At length all went off, 
and we were quiet. I thought, however, Mr. 
Scott will now shut himself up among his books 
and papers, for he has to make up for lost time ; 

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316 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

it won't do for me to ask him now to sit for hii 
picture. Laidlaw, who managed his estate, came 
in, and Scott turned to him, as I supposed, to 
consult about business. ' Laidlaw,' said he, ^ to- 
morrow morning we'll go across the water and 
take the dogs with us : there's a place where I 
think we shall be able to find a hare.' 

« In short," added Wilkie, « I found that m- 
stead of business, he was thinking onlj of amuse- 
ment, as if he had nothing in the world to occupy 
him ; so I no longer feared to intrude upon 
him." 

The conversation of Scott was frank, hearty, 
picturesque, and dramatic. During the time of 
my visit he inclined to the comic rather than the 
grave, in his anecdotes and stories, and such, I 
was told, was his general inclination. He relished 
a joke, or a trait of humor in social intercourse, 
and laughed with right good wiU. He talked not 
for efiect, nor display, but from the flow of his 
spirits, the stores of his memory, and the vigor 
of his imagination. He had a natural turn for 
narration, and his narratives and descriptions 
were without effort, yet wonderfully graphic. 
He placed the scene before you like a picture ; 
he gave the dialogue with the appropriate dialect 
or peculiarities, and described the appearance and 
characters of his personages with that spirit and 
felicity evinced in his writings. Indeed, his con- 
versation reminded me continually of his novels ; 
and it seemed to me, that, during the whole time 
I was with him, he talked enough to fill volumes, 
and that they could not have been filled more 
delightftdly. 

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ABB0T8F0RD. 817 

He was as good a listener as talker, appreciat- 
ing everything that others said, however humble 
might be their rank or pretensions, and was quick 
to testify his perception of any point in their dis- 
course. He arrogated nothing to himself, but 
was perfectly unassuming and unpretending, en- 
tering with heart and soul into the business, or 
pleasure, or, I had almost said, folly, of the hour 
and the company. No one's concerns, no one's 
thoughts, no one's opinions, no one's tastes and 
pleasures seemed beneath him. He made him- 
self so thoroughly the companion of those with 
whom he happened to be, that they forgot for a 
time his vast superiority, and only recollected and 
wondered, when all was over, that it was Scott 
with whom they had been on such familiar terms, 
and in whose society they had felt so perfectly at 
their ease. 

It was delightful to observe the generous spirit 
in which he spoke of all his literary contempo- 
raries, quoting the beauties of their works, and 
this, too, with respect to persons with whom he 
might have been supposed to be at variance in 
literature or politics. Jefl&^y, it was thought, 
had ruffled his plumes in one of his reviews, yet 
Scott spoke of him in terms of high and warm 
eulogy, both as an author and as a man. 

His humor in conversation,* as in his works, 
was genial and free from all causticity. He had 
a quick perception of faults and foibles, but he 
looked upon poor human nature with an indulgent 
eye, relishing what was good and pleasant, toler- 
ating what was frail, and pitying what was eviL 



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818 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

It is this beneficent spirit which gives such an air 
of bonhommte to Scott's hmnor throughout all his 
works. He played with the foibles and errors of 
his fellow-beings, and presented them in a thou- 
sand whimsical and characteristic lights, but the 
kindness and generosity of his nature would not 
allow him to be a satirist. I do not recollect a 
sneer throughout his conversation any more than 
there is throughout his works. 

Such is a rough sketch of Scott, as I saw him 
in private life, not merely at the time of the visit 
here narrated, but in the casual intercourse of 
subsequent years. Of his public character and 
merits aU the world can judge. His works have 
incorporated themselves with the thoughts and 
concerns of the whole civilized world, for a quar- 
ter of a century, and have had a controlling in- 
fluence over the age in which he lived. But 
when did a human being ever exercise an influ- 
ence more salutary and benignant ? Who is there 
that, on looking back over a great portion of his 
life, does not find the genius of Scott administer- 
ing to his pleasures, beguiling his cares, and sooth- 
ing his lonely sorrows ? Who does not still regard 
his works as a treasury of pure enjoyment, an 
armory to which to resort in time of need, to flnd 
weapons with which to fight off the evils and the 
griefs of life ? For my own partj in periods of 
dejection, I have hailed the announcement of a 
new work from his pen as an earnest of certain 
pleasure in store for me, and have looked forward 
to it as a traveller in a waste looks to a green 
spot at a distance, where he feels assured of solace 



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ABBOTBFORD. 819 

and refreshment. When I consider how much 
he has thus contributed to the better hours of my 
past existence, and how independent his works 
still make me, at times, of all the world for my 
enjoyment, I bless my stars that cast my lot in 
his days, to be thus cheered and gladdened by 
the outpourings of his genius. I consider it one 
of the greatest advantages that I have derived 
from my literary career, that it has elevated me 
into genial communion with such a spirit; and 
as a tribute of gratitude for his friendship, and 
veneration for his memory, I cast this humble 
stone upon his cairn, whidi will soon, I trust, bo 
piled aloft with the contribution of abler hands. 



21 



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NEWSTEAD ABBET. 



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NEWSTEAD ABBEY. 



HISTORICAL NOTICE. 

|EIN6 aboat to give a few sketches takeo 
during a three weeks' sojourn in the an- 
cestral mansion of the late Lord Byron, 
I think it proper to premise some brief particulars 
concerning its history. 

Newstead Abbey is one of the finest specimens 
in existence of those quaint and romantic piles, 
half castle, half convent, which remain as monu- 
ments of the olden times of England. It stands, 
too, in the midst of a legendary neighborhood ; 
being in the heart of Sherwood Forest, and sur- 
rounded by the haunts of Robin Hood and his 
band of outlaws, so famous in ancient ballad and 
nursery tale. It is true, the forest scarcely exists 
but in name, and the tract of country over which 
it once extended its broad solitudes and shades is 
now an open and smiling region, cultivated with 
parks and farms, and enlivened with villages. 

Newstead, which probably once exerted a mo« 
nasdc sway over tUs region, and controlled tho 
eonscienoes of the rude foresters, was originally a 



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824 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

pTk)T7, founded in the latter part of the twelfth 
oentnry, by Hen]^ IL, at the time when ba 
sought, by building of shrines and convents, aod 
by other acts of external piety, to &piate the 
murder of Thomas a Becket. The priory was 
dedicated to God and the Virgin, and was inhab- 
ited by a fraternity of can(»is r^nlar of St. Au- 
gustine. This order was originally simple and 
abstemious in its mode of living, and exemplary 
in its conduct ; but it would seem that it gradu- 
ally lapsed into those abuses which disgraced too 
many of the wealthy monastic establishments; 
Ibr there are documents among its archives which 
intimate the prevalence of gross misrule and dis- 
solute sensuality among its members. 

At the time of the dissolution of the convents 
during the reign of Henry VUI., Newstead un- 
derwent a sudden reverse, being given, with the 
neighboring manor and rectory of Papelwid^ to 
Sir John Byron, Steward of Manchester and 
Bodidale, and Lieutenant of Sherwood Forest 
This ancient family worthy figures in the tradi- 
tions of the Abbey, and in the ghost-stcHies with 
which it abounds, under the quaint and graphic 
appellation of ** Sir John Byron the little, with 
the great Beard.** He converted the saintly 
edifice into a castellated dwelling, making it his 
fiikvorite residence and the seat of his forest juris- 
diction. 

The Byron fiimily being subsequently ennobbd 
by a baronial title, and enriched by various pos- 
sessions, maintained great style and retinue al 
Newstead. The proud edifice partook, however 



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IfJBWBTEAD ASSET. 825 

•f the Tioiisitadefl of the times, and Lord Byron,' 
in one of his poems, represents it as alternately 
the soene of lordly wassailing and of dvil war : 

** Haik, how the hall, resoimding to the strain, 
Shakes with the martial mttslc^s novel din t 
The heralds of a warrior's haughiy reign, 
Hij^i-crested banners wave thj waUs within. 

" Of ^h^^g hift sentinels the distant hum. 

The mirth of feasts, the dang of bninish'd anns, 
The brajring trampet, and the hoarser dram, 
Unite in concert with increased akums." 

Abont the middle of the last century, the Ab- 
bey oame into the possession of another noted 
character, who makes no less figure in its shadowy 
traditions than Sir John the Little with the great 
Beard. This was the grand-uncle of the poet, 
fiuniliarly known among the gossiping chroniclers 
of the Abbey as ^ the Wicked Lord Byron." 
He is represented as a man of irritable passions 
and yindictiTe temper, in the indulgence of which 
an incident occurred which gaye a turn to his 
whole character and life, and in some measure 
afibcted the fortunes of the Abbey. Li his neigh- 
borhood lived his kinsman and friend, Mr. Cha- 
worth, proprietor of Annesley HalL Being to- 
gether in London in 1765, in a dmmber of the 
Star and Qarter tavern in Pall Mall, a quarrel 
rose between them. Byron insisted upon settHog 
it upon the spot by single combat They fought 
without seconds, by the dim light of a candle ; 
and Mr. Qiaworth, although the most ei^>ert 
swordanan, received a mortal wound. With his 
dymg bieath he rdated such. particulaiB of the ' 

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386 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

ooQtest as induoed the coroner's jury to return a 
verdict of wilful murder. Lord Byron was sent 
to the Tower, and subsequently tried before the 
House of Peers, where an ultimate verdict was 
^ven of manslaughter. 

He retired after this to the Abbey, where he 
shut himself up to brood over his disgraces ; grew 
gloomy, morose, and fantastical, and indulged in 
fits of passion and caprice, that made him the 
theme of rural wonder and scandal. No tale 
was too wild or too monstrous for vulgar belief 
Like his successor the poet, he was accused of 
all kinds of vagaries and wickedness. It was said 
that he always went armed, a3 if prepared to 
commit murder on the least provocation. At one 
time, when a gentleman of his neighborhood was 
to dine tcte-d-iite with him, it is said a brace of 
pistols were gravely laid with the knives and 
forks upon the table, as part of the regular table 
furniture, and implements that might be needed 
in the course of the repast. Another rumor 
states, that, being exasperated at his coachman for 
disobedience to orders, he shot him on the spot, 
threw his body into the coach where Lady Byron 
was seated, and, mounting the box, officiate in 
his stead. At another time, according to the 
same vulgar rumors, he threw her ladyship into 
the lake in front of the Abbey, where she would 
have been drowned but for the timely aid of the 
gardener. These stories are doubtless exaggera^- 
tions of trivial incidents which may have oc- 
curred ; but it is certain that the wayward paa* 
sions of this unhappy man caused a separation 



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NEWSTEAD ABBE7. 327 

&om his wife, and fuially spread a solitade around 
him. Being displeased at the marriage of his 
son, and heir, he displayed an inveterate malig- 
nity towards him. Not being able to cut off his 
auccession to the Abbey estate, which descended 
to him by entail, he endeavored to injure it as 
much as possible, so that it might come a mere 
wreck into his hands. For this purpose he suf- 
fered the Abbey to ^ out of repair, and every- 
thing to go to waste about it, and cut down all 
the timber on the estate, laying low many a tract 
of old Sherwood Forest, so that the Abbey lands 
lay stripped and bare of all their ancient honors. 
He was baffled in his unnatural revenge by the 
premature death of his. son, and passed the re- 
mainder of his days in his deserted and dilap- 
idated halls, a gloomy misanthrope, brooding 
amidst the scenes he had laid desolate. 

His wayward humors drove from him all neigh- 
borly society, and for a part of the time he was 
almost without domestics. In his misanthropic 
mood, when at variance with all human-kind, he 
took to feeding crickets, so that in process of time 
the Abbey was overrun with them, and its lonely 
halls made more lonely at night by their monot- 
onous music. Tradition adds that, at his death, 
the crickets seemed aware that they had lost their 
patron and protector, for they one and all packed 
up bag and baggage, and left the Abbey, trooping 
across its courts and corridors in all directions. 

The death of the " Old Lord," or « The Wicked 
Lord Byron," for he is known by both appella- 
tions, occurred in 1798; and the Abbey then 



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328 cAaton miscellaitt. 

passed into the possession of the poet. The lattei 
was but eleven years of age, and living in humble 
style with his mother in Scotland. They came 
soon after to England, to take possession. Moore 
gives a simple but striking anecdote of the first 
arrival of the poet at the domains of his ancestors. 

They had arrived at the Newstead toll-bar, 
and saw the woods of the Abbey stretching out 
to receive them, when Mrs. Byron, affecting to 
be ignorant of the placg, asked the woman of the 
toll-house to whom that seat belonged? She 
was told that the owner of it, Lord Byron, had 
been some months dead. ^And who is the next 
heir ? *' asked the proud and happy mother. 
" They say/* answered the old woman, " it is a 
little boy who lives at Aberdeen." — " And this is 
he, bless him ! " exclaimed the nurse, no longer 
able to contain herself, and turning to kiss with 
delight the young lord who was seated on her 
lap.* 

During Lord Byron's minority, the Abbey was 
let to Lord Grey de Ruthen, but the poet visited 
it occasionally during the Harrow vacations, when 
he resided with his mother at lodgings in Not- 
tingham. It was treated little better by its pres- 
ent tenant than by the old lord who preceded 
him ; so that, when, in the autumn of 1808, Lord 
Byron took up his abode there, it was in a ruin- 
ous condition. The following lines from his own 
pen may give some idea of its ocmdition : 

'Through thy battlements, Newsteod, the hollow winda 
whistle, 
Tlioii, the hall of my fatbera, art gone to decay; 

* Moore's Life of Lord B^on» 

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NEWBTEAD ABBEY. tS9^ 

in ihf once smiling garden, the hemlock and thisile 
Have choked up the rose which once bloomed ia the 
way. 

** Of the mail-corered barons who, prondly, to battle 
I«ed thy vassals from Europe to Palestine's plain, 
The escutcheon and shield, which with every wind rattle. 
Are the only sad vestiges now that remain." * 

In another poem he expresses the melancholy 
feeling with which he took possession of his an- 
oestral mandon : 

" Kewstead ! That saddening scene of change is thine, 
Thy yawning arch betokens sure decay: 
The last and youngest of a noble line 
Now holds thy mouldering turrets in his sway. 

** Deserted now, he scans thy gray-worn towers. 
Thy vaults, where dead of feudal ages sleep, 
lliy cloisters, pervious to the wintry showers. 
These — these he views, and views them but to weep. 

** Yet he prefers thee to the gilded domes, 
Or gewgaw grottos of the vahily great; 
Yet lingers *mid thy damp and mossy tombs, 
Kor breathes a murmur 'gainst the will of fate.*' f 

Lord Byron had^ not fortune sufficient to put 
the pile in extensive repair, nor to maintain any- 
thing like the state of his ancestors. He restored 
some of the apartments, so as to furnish his 
mother with a comfortable habitation, and fitted 
up a quaint study for himself, in which, among 
books and busts, and other libraiy furniture, were 
two skulls of the ancient friars, grinning on each 
side of aa antique cross. One of his gay com- 

• Lines on leaving Kewstead Abbey, 
t Elegy on Kewstead Abbey. 



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380 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

pamons gives a picture of Newstead whea thus 
repaired, and the picture is sufficiently desolate. 

" There are two tiers of cloisters, with a vari- 
ety of cells and rooms about them, which, though 
not inhabited, nor in an inhabitable state, might 
easily be made so; and many of the original 
rooms, among which is a fine stone hall, are still 
in use. Of the Abbey church, one end only re- 
mains ; and the old kitchen, with a long range 
of apartments, is reduced to a heap of rubbish. 
Leading fix>m the Abbey to the modem part 
of the habitation is a noble room, seventy feet in 
length, and twenty-three in breadth ; but every 
part of the house displays neglect and decay, save 
those which the present lord has lately fitted 
up."* 

Even the repairs thus made were but of tran- 
sient benefit, for the roof being left in its di- 
lapidated state, the rain soon penetrated into the 
apartments which Lord Byron had restored and 
decorated, and in a few years rendered them al- 
most as desolate the rest of the Abbey. 

Still he felt a pride in the ruinous old edifice ; 
its very dreary and dismantled state addressed 
itself to his poetical imagination, and to that love 
of the melancholy and the grand which is evinced 
in all his writings. ^ Come what may," said he 
in one of his letters, ^^ Newstead and I stand or 
fall together. I have now lived on the spot I 
have fixed my heart upon it, and no pressure, 
present or fiiture, shall induce me to biuler the 
last vestige of our inheritance. I have that pride 

* Letter of the late Charles Skinner Mathewi, Eaq. 



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NEW8TEAD ABBE7. 881 

within me which will enable me to support diffi* 
colties : could I obtain in exchange for Newstead 
Abbey the first fortune in the country^ I would 
reject the proposition.'' 

His residence at the Abbey, however, was fit- 
ful and uncertain. He passed occasional portions 
of lime there, sometimes studiously and alone^ 
oftener idly and recklessly, and occasionally with 
young and gay companions, in riot and revelry, 
and the indulgence of all kinds of mad caprice. 
The Abbey was by no means benefited by these 
roistering inmates, who sometimes played off 
monkish mummeries about the cloisters, at other 
times turned the state-chambers into schools for 
boxing and single-stick, and shot pistols in the 
great halL The country people of the neigh- 
borhood were as much puzzled by these mad- 
cap vagaries of the new incumbent as by the 
gloomier habits of the ^' old lord," and began to 
think that madness was inherent in the Byron 
race, or that some wayward star ruled over the 
Abbey. 

It is needless to enter into a detail of the cir- 
cumstances which led his Lordship to sell his 
ancestral estate, notwithstanding the partial pre- 
dilections and hereditary feeling which he had so 
eloquently expressed. Fortunately, it fell into 
the hands of a man who possessed something of 
a poetical temperament, and who cherished an 
enthusiastic admiration for Lord Byron. Colonel 
(at that time Major) Wildman had been a school- 
mate of the poet, and sat with him on the same 
fiorm at Harrow. He had subsequently distin- 



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380 CRAYON MJTJST^^ 

pamons gives a picture of >^^^^ 
repaired, and the picture is a-^iW^ . ' . 
" There are two tiers of cloister^ . 
etj of cells and rooms about tbeoh ^ 
not inhabited, nor in an inhabftafliJ^ 
easily be made so; and many mif 
rooms, among which is a fine stow '■^' 
in use. Of the Abbey church, one 
mains; and the old kitchen, with, 
of apartments, is reduced to a hf 
Leading from the Abbey to the ^ 
of the habitation is a noble room, -^ 
length, and twenty-three in brear * 
•part of the house displays neglect .^ *• 
those which the present lord b ^ * 
up""" 



^y^\. 



-^ c: 



•f« 



Even the repairs thus made w 
sient benefit, for the roof bein/ 
lapidated state, the rain soon pe . 
apartments which Lord Byron \ ^ 
decorated, and in a few years n 
most as desolate the rest of the ,^ 

Still he felt a pride in the re 
its very dreary and dismantled 
itself to his poetical ima^'natiott 
of the melancholy and the grand * 
in all his writings. " Come wl ^ 
in one of hk letters, '^NewSte^^ 
fall together. I have nov^ Jf v ^ 
b&ve fixed mylieart up^^ ifc^ 
present or Mure, shall iodn^^ 
last vestige of our ioherit^^ 

• Letter of the late Charles S^^^ 



*^ 





did 
cued 



•Qt 



m 



""> m. 

^ Vrhh 

^& in 
««d and 

preserved 
•«<"c of the 
< "^'se cou. 

^f.«^e«ded 



38S CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

giiiBhed himself in the war of the PeninBiila, and 
at the battle of Waterloo, and it was a great con- 
solation to Lord Byron, in parting with his fiuniiy 
estate, to know that it would be held by <Mie ci- 
pable of restoring its &ded glories, and who woaM 
respect and preserve all the monuments and me- 
morials of his line.* 

The confidence of Lord Byrcm in the good 
feeling and good taste of Colonel Wildman has 
been justified by the event. Under his judidoua 
eye and munificent hand the venerable and ro- 

* The following letter, written in the course of the tnnsfei 
of the estate, has never been published : — 

YewUe, Nov. 18, 1818. 
Mt dkab Wildman, — 

Mr. Hanson is on the eve of his return, so that I have onlf 
time to return a few inadequate thanks for your veiy kind 
letter. I should regret to trouble you with any requests of 
mine, in regard to the preservation of any signs of my fiunily 
which may still exist at Newstead, and leave eveiything of 
that kind to your own feelings, present or fiiture, i^khi tbe 
sul^ect. The portrait which you flatter me by desiring, would 
not be worth to you your trouble and expense of such an ex- 
pedition, but you may rely upon having the very first thit 
may be painted, and which may seem worth your acceptance. 

I trust that Newstead will, being yours, remun so, and tiiat 
I may see you as happy as I am veiy sure that yon will 
make your dependants. With regard to myself, you may be 
sure that, whether in the fourth, or fifth, or sixth fbrm at Har- 
row, or in the fluctuations of after-life, I shall always remem- 
ber with regard my old schoolfellow — fbllow-monitor, and 
friend, and recognize with respect the gallant soldier, who, 
with all the advantages of fortune and aUurements of youtk 
to a life of pleasure, devoted himself to duties of a nobler mder 
and wiU receive his reward in the esteem and admiration of 
hisooantiy. 

Ever yours most truly and affectionately, 
BTBON. 



> 



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NEWaTEAD ABBEY. 888 

numlie pile has risen from its rains in all its old 
monastic and baronial splendor, and additions have 
been made to it in perfect conformitj of style. The 
groves and forests have been replanted ; the lakes 
and fish-ponds cleaned ont, and the gardens rescued 
from the '* hemlock and thistle/' and r^tored to 
their pristine and dignified formality. 

The farms on the estate have been put in 
complete order, new &rm-hoases built of stonci 
in the picturesque and comfortable style of the 
old English granges.; the hereditary tenants se* 
cured in their paternal homes and treated with 
the most considerate indulgence; everything, in 
a word, gives happy indications of a liberal and 
beneficent landlord. 

What most, however, will interest the visitors 
to the Abbey in &vor of its present occupant, is 
the reverential care with which he has preserved 
and renovated every monument and relic of the 
Byron family, and every object in any wise con- 
nected with the memory of the poet. Eighty 
thousand pounds have already been expended 
upon the venerable pile, yet the work \a still go- 
ing on, and Newstead promises to realize the hope 
faintly breathed by the poet when bidding it a 
melancholy &rewell : 

** Haply thj sim emeigfaig, yet maj dilne, 
Thee to inadiate with meridian ray ; 
Hmob ^endid aa the past may atiU be tUae^ 
And bless thy fbtore, aa thy fbrmer diqr*" 



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ARRIVAL AT THE ABBEY. 

HAD been passing amerrj Christmas 
in the good old style at Barlboro' Hall, a 
venerable family mansion in Derbyshire, 
and set off to finish the holidays with the hos- 
pitable proprietor of Newstead Abbey. A drive 
of seventeen miles through a pleasant country, 
part of it the storied region of Sherwood Forest, 
brought me to the gate of Newstead Park. The 
aspect of the park was by no means imposing, 
the fine old trees that once adorned it having been 
laid low by Lord Byron's wayward predecessor. 

Entering the gate, the post-chaise rolled heavi- 
ly along a sandy road, between naked declivities, 
gradually descending into one of those gentle and 
sheltered valleys in which the sleek monks of old 
loved to nestle themselves. Here a sweep of the 
road round an angle of a garden-wall brought us 
i^U in &ont of the venerable edifice, embosomed in 
the valley, with a beautiful sheet of water spread- 
ing out before it. 

The irregular gray pile, of motley architecture, 
answered to the description given by Lord By- 
ron: 

« An old, old monasteiy once, and now 
Still older mansion, of a ridi and nure 
Mixed Gothic ....*' 

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NEWaTEAD ABBEY. 885 

One end was fortified hj a castellated tower, 
bespeaking the baronial and warlike days of tbe 
edifice; the other end maintained its primitiye 
monastic character. A ruined chapel, flanked by 
a solemn grove, still reared its &ont entire. It 
is true, the threshold of the once frequented por- 
tal was grass-grown, and the great lancet window, 
once glorious with painted glass, was now en- 
twined and overhung with ivy ; but the old con- 
vent cross still braved both time and tempest on 
the pinnacle of the chapel, and below, the blessed 
effigies of the Virgin and child, sculptured in gray 
stone, remained uninjured in their niche, giving 
a sanctified aspect to the pile."**" 

A flight of rooks, tenants of the adjacent 
grove, were hovering about the ruin, and balanc- 
ing themselves upon every airy projection, and 
looked down with curious eye, and cawed as the 
post-chaise rattled along below. 

The chamberlain of the Abbey, a most deco- 
rous personage, dressed in black, received us at 
the portaL Here, too, we encountered a me* 
mento of Lord Byron, a great black and white 
Newfoundland dog, that had accompanied his re- 
mains from Greece. He was descended from the 
fiunous Boatswain, and inherited his generous 
qualities. He was a cherished inmate of the 
Abbey, and honored and caressed by every vis- 

* ** in a higher niche, alone, but crown'd, 

The Yiigin Mother of the God-bom child, 
"With h^ son in her blessed arms, looked round, 

Spared bj some chance, when all beside was spoU'd: 
She made l^e earth below seem holy ground." 

Don Juan, Canto lU 

22 

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3S6 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

itor. Conducted by the chamberlain, and fol- 
lowed bj the dog, who assisted in doing the boo* 
on of the house, we passed through a long, low 
vaulted hall, supported by massive Grothic ardies, 
and not a little resembling the crypt of a cathednJ« 
being the basement story of the Abbey. 

From this we ascended a stone staircase, at 
the head of which a pair of folding- doors ad- 
mitted us into a broad corridor that ran round 
the interior of the Abbey. The windows of the 
corridor looked into a quadrangular grass-grown 
court, forming the hollow centre of the pile. Li 
the midst of it rose a lofty and fiutastic foon* 
tain, wrought of the same gray stone as the 
main edifice, and which has been well described 
by Lord Byron. 

** Amidst the eonrt a Gothic fbuntain plaj'd, 

Sjmmetrical, but deck*d with camngs qadnt, 

Strange fiuses, like to men in masquerade, 
And here perhaps a monster, there a saint: 

The spring msh'd throt^h grim mouths of gruute ouida, 
And sparkled into basins, where it spent 

Its little torrent in a thousand bubbles, 

Like man's rain glory, and his vainer troubles.** * 

Around this quadrangle w^re low vaulted clois- 
ters, with Gothic arches, once the secluded walks 
<^ the monks : the corridor along which we were 
passing was built above these cloisters, and their 
hollow arches seemed to reverberate every fi)ot* 
fall. Everything thus &r had a solemn monastic 
air ; but, on arriving at an angle of the corridor, 
the eye, glancing along a shadowy gallery, caoght 
a sight of two dark figures in pkte armor, irith 
• Dfm Juan, Canto IIL 



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NEWSTEAD ABBEY. 897 

doeed visorB, bucklers braced, and swords drawn, 
Standing motionless against the wall. They 
seemed two phantoms . of the chivalrous era <^ 
the Abbey. 

Here the chamberlain, throwing open a folding- 
door, ushered us at once into a spacious and lofty 
saloon, which offered a brilliant contrast ^ the 
quaint and sombre apartments we had traversed. 
It was elegantly famished, and the walls hung 
with paintings, yet something of its original archi- 
tecture had been preserved and blended with 
modem embellishments. There were the stone- 
shafted casements and the deep bow-window of 
former times. The carved and panelled wood- 
work of the lofty ceiling had likewise been care- 
fully restored, and its Gothic and grotesque de- 
vices painted and gilded in their ancient style. 

Here, too, were emblems of the former and 
latter days of the Abbey, in the effigies of the 
first and last of the Byron line that held sway 
over its destinies. At the upper end of the 
saloon, above the door, the dork Gothic portrait 
of " Sir John Byron the Little with the great 
Beard" looked grimly down finom his canvas, 
while, at the opposite end, a white marble bust 
of the genius loei^ the noble poet, shone oonspio- 
uously from its pedestal. 

The whole air and style of the apartment par- 
took more of the palace than the monastery, and its 
windows looked forth on a suitable prospect, com- 
posed of beautiftd groves, smooth verdant lawns, 
and BilTer sheets of water. Below the windows 
was a small fower-garden, enclosed by stone bal- 

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3S8 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

nstrades, on which were statdy peacocks, sunning 
themselves and displaying their plumage. About 
the grass plots in fit>nt were gay cock-pheasants, 
and plump partridges, and nimble-footed water- 
hens, feeding almost in perfect security. 

Such was the medley of objects presented to 
the ^e on first visiting the Abbey, and I found 
the interior folly to answer the description of the 
poet — 

« The nuuiuon's self was vast and venerable, 
With more of the monastic than has heen 

Elsewhere preserved : the doisten stiU were stable, 
The cells, too, and refectory, I ween; 

An exquisite small chapel had been aUe, 
Still unimpaired, to decorate the scene; 

The rest had been reformed, replaced, or sank, 

And spoke more of the friar than the monk. 

"Huge halls, long galleries, spacious chambers, joined 
By no quite lawful marriage of the arts, 

llight shock a connoisseur; but when combined 
Formed a whole, which, irregular in parts, 

Yet left a grand impression on the mind. 
At least of those whose eyes were in their hear^." 

It is not my intention to lay open the scenes 
of domestic life at the Abbey, nor to describe the 
festivities of which I was a partaker during my 
sojourn within its hospitable walls. I wish 
merely to present a picture of the edifice itself, 
and of those personages and circumstances about 
it connected with the memory of Byron. 

I forbear, therefore, to dwell on my reception 
by my excellent and amiable host and hostess, 
or to make my reader acquainted with the elegant 
inmates of the mansion that I met in the saloon; 



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NEWBTEAD ABBEY. 889 

Mid Ishall pass on at once with him to the cham- 
ber allotted me, and to which I was most respect- 
fiilly conducted by the chamberlain. 

It was one of a magnificent suite of rooms, ex- 
tending between the court of the cloisters and the 
Abbey garden, the windows looking into the latter. 
The whole suite formed the ancient state apart- 
ment, and had &llen into decay during the neg- 
lected days of the Abbey, so jui to be in a ruinous 
condition in the time of Lord Byron. It had 
since been restored to its ancient splendor, of 
which my chamber may be dted as a specimen. 
It was lofty and well proportioned; the lower 
part of the walls was panelled with ancient oak, 
the upper part hung with gobelin tapestry, repre- 
senting Oriental hunting-scenes, wherein the fig- 
ures were of the size of Hfe, and of great vivacity 
of attitude and color. 

The furniture was antique, dignified, and cum- 
brous. High-backed chairs curiously carved, and 
wrou^t in needlework ; a massive clothes-press 
of -dark oak, well polished, and inlaid with land- 
sci^>es of various tinted woods ; a bed of state, 
ample and lofty, so as only to be ascended by a 
movable flight of steps, the huge posts supporting 
a high tester with a tuft of crimson plumes at 
each comer, and rich curtains of crimson damask 
hanging in broad and heavy folds. 

A venerable mirror of plate-glass stood on the 
toilet) in which belles of former centuries may 
have contemplated and decorated their charms. 
The floor of the chamber was of tesselated oak, 
shining with wax, and partly covered by a Tor- 
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340 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

kej carpet In the centre stood a massy oakes 
table, waxed and p ol ishe d as smooth as glass^ 
and furnished with a writing-desk oi perfumed 
rosewood. 

A sober light was admitted into the room 
through Gothic stone-shafted casements, partly 
shaded by crimson curtains, and partly overshad-* 
owed by the trees of the garden. This solemnly 
tempered light added to the eflfect of the stately 
and antiquated interior. 

Two portraits, suspended over the doors, were 
in keeping with the scene. They were in ancient 
Vandyke dresses ; one was a cavalier, who may 
have occupied this apartment in days of yore, the 
other was a lady with a black velvet mask in her 
hand, who may once have arrayed herself for con- 
quest at the very mirror I have described. 

The most curious relic of old times, however, 
in this quaint but richly dight apartment, was a 
great chimney-piece of panel-work, carved in high 
relief with niches or compartments, eadi con- 
taining a human bust, that protruded almost 
entirely from the walL Some of the figures were 
in ancient Gothic garb ; the most striking among 
them was a female, who was eamestiy regarded 
by a fierce Saracen from an adjoining niche. 

This panel- work is among the mysteries of the 
Abbey, and causes as much wide speculation as 
the Egyptian hieroglyphics. Some suppose it to 
illustrate an adventure in the Holy Land, and that 
the lady in effigy had been rescued by some cru- 
sader cf the frunily from the turbaned Turk who 
watdies her so eamestiy. What tends to give 

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NEW8TEAD ABBEY. 841 

weight to these suppositions is, that similar pieces 
of panel-work exist in other parts of the Abbey, 
in all of which are to be seen the Christian lady 
and her Saracen guardian or lover. At the bot- 
tom of these sculptures are emblazoned the ar- 
morial bearings of the Byrons. 

I shall not detain the reader, however, with 
any further description of my apartment, or of 
the mysteries connected wiUi it. As he is to 
pass some days with me at the Abbey, we shall 
have time to examine the old edifice at our leisure, 
and to make ourselves acquainted, not merely 
with its interior, but likewise with its environs. 




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THE ABBEY GARDEN. 




I HE morning after my arrival, I rose at 
an early hour. The dayKght was peer- 
ing brightly between the window-cur- 
tains, and drawing them apart, I gazed through 
the Gothic casement upon a scene that accorded 
in character with the interior of the ancient man- 
sion. It was the old Abbey garden, but altered 
to suit the tastes of different times and occupants. 
In one direction were shady walks and alleys, 
broad terraces and lofty groves ; in another, 
b^ieath a gray monastic - looking angle of the 
edifice, overrun with ivy and surmounted by a 
cross, lay a small French garden, with formal 
flower-pots, gravelled walks, and stately stone 
balustrades. 

The beauty of the morning, and the quiet of 
the hour, tempted me to an early stroll ; for it is 
pleasant to enjoy such old-time places alone, when 
one may indulge poetical reveries, and spin cob- 
web fancies without interruption. Dressing my- 
self, therefore, with all speed, I descended a small 
flight of steps from the state apartment into the 
long corridor over the cloisters, along which I 
passed to a door at the farther end. Here I 
emerged into the open air, and, descending an- 



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NEWaTEAD. ABBEY. 848 

other £i^t of stone steps, found myself in the 
centre of what had once been the Abbey chapeL 
Nothing of the sacred edifice remained, how- 
ever, but the Gothic fix)nt, with its deep portal 
and grand lancet - window, already described. 
The nave, the side walls, the choir, the sacristy, 
all had disappeared. The open sky was over my 
head, a smooth-shaven grass-plot beneath my feet. 
Gravel-walks and shrubberies had succeeded to 
the shadowy aisles, and stately trees to the dus* 
tering columns. 

" Where now the grass exhales a murky dew, 

The humid pall of lif^B-exdnguished day, 
In sainted &me the sacred fathers grew, 

Nor raised their pious voices but to pray. 
Where now the bats their wavering wings extend, 

Soon as the gloaming spreads her warning shade, 
The choir did oft their mingling vespers blend, 

Or matin orisons to Maiy paid.'' 

Instead of the matin orisons of the monks, 
however, the ruined walls of the chapel now re- 
sounded to the cawing of innumerable rooks that 
were fluttering and hovering about the dark grove 
which they inhabited, and preparing for their 
morning flight. 

My ramble led me along quiet alleys, bordered 
by slumbbery, where the solitary water-hen would 
now and then scud across my path, and take ref- 
uge among the bushes. From hence I entered 
upon a broad terraced walk, once a favorite resort 
of the friars, which extended the whole length 
of the old Abbey garden, passing along the an- 
cient stone wall ^hich bounded it. In the cen- 
tre of the garden lay one of the monkish fish- 



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844 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

pools, an oblong sheet of water, deep set^ like a 
mirror, in green sloping banks of turf. In ito 
glassy boeom was reflected the dark mass of a 
neighboring grove, one of the most important 
features of the garden. 

This grove goes by the sinister name of ^ the 
Devil's Wood,'* and enjoys but an equivocal char- 
acter in the neighborhood. It was planted by 
"The Wicked Lord Byron," during the early 
part of his residence at the Abbey, before his fiei- 
tal duel with Mr. Chaworth. Having something 
of a foreign and a classical taste, he set up leaden 
statues of satyrs or fawns at each end of the 
grove. The statues, like everything else about 
the old Lord, fell under the suspicion and obloquy 
that overshadowed him in the latter part of his 
life. The country people, who knew nothing of 
heathen mythology and its sylvan deities, looked 
with horror at idols invested with the diabolical 
attributes of horns and cloven feet They prob- 
ably supposed them some object of secret worship 
of the gloomy and secluded misanthrope and re- 
puted murderer, and gave them the name of * The 
old Lord's Devils." 

I penetrated the recesses of the mystic grove. 
Thero stood the ancient and much slaiidered stat- 
ues, overshadowed by tall larches, and stained by 
dank green mould. It is not a matter of sur- 
prise that strange figures, thus behoofed and be- 
homed, and set up in a gloomy grove, should 
perplex the minds of the simple and superstitious 
yeomanry. There are many of the tastes and 
caprices of the rich, that in the eyes of the un- 
educated must savor of insanity. 

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NEWSTEAD ABBEY. 845 

I was attracted to this grove, however, by mo* 
morials of a more touching character. It had 
been one of the favorite haunts of the late Lord 
Byron. In his farewell visit to the Abbey, after 
he had parted with the possessicm of it, he passed 
some time in this grove, in company with his 
sister ; and as a last memento, engraved their 
names on the bark of a tree. 

The feelings that agitated his bosom daring 
this farewell visit, when he beheld round him 
objects dear to his pride, and dear to his juve- 
nile recollections, but of which the narrowness 
of his fortune would not permit him to retain 
possession, may be gathered from a passage in a 
poetical epistle, written to his sister in after* 
years : — 

^ I did remind yon of onr own dear lake 

By the old hall icHdch may be mine no more ; 

Leman's is fair; but think not I forsake 
The sweet remembrance of a dearer shore: 

Sad havoc Time must with my memoiy make 
Ere thai or thou can fade these eyes before; 

Though, like all things which I have loved, they aro 

Resigned forever, or divided far. 

" I feel almost at times as I have felt 

In happy childhood; trees, and flowers, and bnx>k8, 
Which do remember me of where I dwelt 

Ere my young mind was sacrificed to books, 
Gome 88 of yore upon me, and can melt 

My heart with recognition of thehr looks; 
And even at moments I would think I see 
Some living things I love — but none like thee.*' 

I searched the grove for some time, before I 
found the tree on which Lord Byron had left 
his frail memorial. It was an elm of peculiar 



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(46 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

form, having two tranks, which sprang from the 
same root, and, after growing side by side, min« 
gled their branches together. He had selected 
it, doubtless, as emblematical of his sister and 
himself The names of Btron and Augusta 
were still visible. They had been deeply cut in 
the bark, but the natural growth of the tree was 
gradually rendering them illegible, and a few 
years hence, strangers will seek in vain for this 
record of fraternal affection. 

Leaving the grove, I continued my ramble 
along a spacious terrace, overlooking what had 
once been the kitchen - garden of the Abbey. 
Below me lay the monks' stew, or fish-pond, a 
dark pool, overhung by gloomy cypresses, with a 
solitary water-hen swimming about in it 

A little further on, and the terrace looked 
down upon the stately scene on the south side of 
the Abbey ; the flower-garden, with its stone bal- 
ustrades and stately peacocks, the lawn, with its 
pheasants and partridges, and the soft valley of 
Newstead beyond. 

At a distance, on the border of the lawn, stood 
another memento of Lord Byron ; an oak planted 
by him in his boyhood, on his first visit to the 
Abbey. With a superstitious feeling inherent in 
him, ho linked his own destiny with that of the 
tree. " As it fares,*' said he, " so will fare my for- 
tunes." Several years elapsed, many of them 
passed in idleness and dissipation. He returned 
to the Abbey a youth scarce grown to manhood, 
but, as he thought, with vices and follies beyond 
his years. He found his emblem oak ahnoet 



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NEWSTEAD ABBEY, 847 

dioked bj weeds and brambles, and took the 
lesson to himself. 

** Yoang oak, when I planted thee deep in the ground, 
I hoped that thy days would be longer than mine, 
That thy dark waving branches would flourish around. 
And ivy thy trunk with its mantle entwine. 

** Such, such was my hope — wnen in infoncy's years 
On the land of my fathers I reared thee with pride ; 
They are past, and I water thy stem with my tears — 
Thy decay not the weeds that surround thee can hide.** 

I leaned over the stone balustrade of the ter- 
race, and gazed upon the valley of Newstead, 
with its silver sheets of water gleaming in the 
morning sun. It was a Sabbath morning, which 
always seems to have a hallowed influence over 
the landscape, probably from the quiet of the 
day, and the cessation of all kinds of week-day 
labor. As I mused upon the mild and beau- 
tiful scene, and the way ward destinies of the man 
whose stormy temperament forced him from this 
tranquil paradise to battle with the passions iwvX 
perils of the world, the sweet chime of bell^ from 
a village a few miles distant came stealing up f^ 
valley. Every sight and sound this men 
seemed calculated to summon up touching i 
lections of poor Byron. The chime waa 
the village spire of Hucknall Torkard, bei 
which his remains lie buried! 

1 have since visited his tomb. It i 

an old gray country church, venerable with 
li^>se of centuries. He lies buried beneath t^ 
pavement, at one end of the principal aielc. ^ 
light fidls on the spot through the stained glass dt 



...^ 



848 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

a Gothic window, and a tablet on the adjaoeat 
wall announces the family vault of the Bjrons. 
It had been the wajwai'd intention of the poet 
to be entombed, with his faithful dog, in the mon- 
ument erected bj him in the garden of Newstead 
Abbey. His executors showed better judgment 
and feeling, in consigning his ashes to the &mily 
sepulchre, to mingle with those of his mother and 
his kindred. Here, 

''After life's fitftil fever, he sleeps weU. 
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing 
Can touch him farther ! " 

How nearly did his dying hour realize the 
wish made by him, but a few years previously, 
in one of his fitful moods of melancholy and mis- 
anthropy : — 

'* When time, or soon or late, shall bring 
The dreamless sleep that lolls the dead, 
Oblivion ! may thy languid wing 
Wave gently o'er my dying bed ! 

'* No band of friends or heirs be there, 
To weep or wish the coming blow: 
Ifo maiden with dishevelled hair, 
To feel, or feign decorous woe. 

^ But silent let me sink to earth. 
With no officious mourners near: 
I would not mar one hour of mirth, 
Kor startle friendship with a tear.** 

He died among strangers, in a foreign land, 
without a kindred hand to close his eyes ; yet he 
did not die unwept. With all his &ults and er- 
rors, and passions and caprices, he had the gift 
of attaching his humble dependants warmly to 



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NEWSTEAD ABBEY. 849 

him* One of tbem, a poor Greek, accompanied 
his remains to England, and followed them to the 
grave. I am told that, during the ceremony, he 
stood holding on bj a pew in an agony of grief, 
and when all was over, seemed as if he wonld 
have gone down into the tomb with the body of 
his master. A nature that could inspire such 
attachments, must have been generous and benef^ 
icent. 




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PLOUGH MONDAY. 

IHEBWOOD Forest is a region that still 
retains mnch of the quaint customs and 
holiday games of the olden time. A 
day or two after my arrival at the Abbey, as I 
was walking in the cloisters, I heard the sound 
of rustic music, and now and then a burst of 
merriment, proceeding from the interior of the 
mansion. Presently the chamberlain came and 
informed me that a party of country lads were 
in the servants' hall, perfbrming Plough Monday 
antics, and invited me to witness their mummery. 
I gladly assented, for I am somewhat curious 
about these relics of popular usages. The ser- 
vants' hall was a fit place for the exhibition of 
an old Gothic game. It was a chamber of great 
extent which, in monkish times had been the 
refectory of the Abbey. A row of massive col- 
ums extended lengthwise through the centre, 
whence sprung Gothic arches, supporting the low 
vaulted ceiling. Here was a set of rustics dressed 
up in something of the style represented in the 
books concerning popular antiquities. One was 
in a rough garb of frieze, with his head mufi9.ed 
in bear-skin, and a bell dangling behind him, that 



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NEW8TEAD ABBEY, dSt 

jingled at every movement He was the down/ 
or fool of the party, probably a traditional repre- 
sentative of the ancient satyr. The rest were 
decorated with ribbons and armed with wooden 
swords. The leader of the troop recited the old 
ballad of St. George and the Dragon, which had 
been current among the country people for ages ; 
his companions accompanied the recitation with 
some rude attempt at acting, while the down cut 
all kinds of antics. 

To these succeeded a set of morris-dancers, 
^yly dressed up with ribbons and hawks'-bells. 
In this troop we had Robin Hood and Maid 
Marian, the latter represented by a smooth-&ced 
boy : also, Beelzebub, equipped with a broom, 
and accompanied by his wife Bessy, a termagant 
old beldame. These rude pageants are the lin- 
gering remains of the old customs of Plough 
Monday, when bands of rustics, fantastically 
dressed, and furnished with pipe and tabor, 
dragged what was called the " fool plough " from 
house to house, singing ballads and performing 
antics, for which they were rewarded with money 
and good cheer. 

But it is not in "merry Sherwood Forest" 
alone that these remnants of old times prevail 
They are to be met with in most of the counties 
north of the Trent, which classic stream seems 
to be the boundary - line of primitive customs. 
•During my recent Christmas sojourn at Barlboro' 
Hall, on the skirts of Derbyshire and Yorkshire, 
I had witnessed many of the rustic festivitie 
peculiar to that joyous season, which have rashi 
23 

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S5t CRAYON lilSCELLAJfT. 

been pronotmoed obsolete by tbose who inm 
their experience merely from citj life. I had 
seen the great Yule dog put on the fire on Christ- 
mas Eve, and the wassail-bowl ipent round, brim- 
ming with its spicy beverage. I had heard carols 
beneath my window by the choristers of the 
neighboring village, who went their rounds about 
the ancient Hall at midnight, according to im- 
memorial custom. We had mummers and mimexs 
too, with the story of St. George and the Dragon, 
and other baUads and traditional dialogues, to- 
gether with the &mous old interlude of the 
Hobby Horse, aU represented in the antechamber 
and servants' hall by rustics, who inherited the 
custom and the poetry &om precedin^^ genera- 
tions. 

The boar's head, crowned with rosemary, had 
taken its honored station among the Christmas 
cheer; the festal board had been attended by 
glee-singers and minstrels from the village to en- 
tertain the company with hereditary songs and 
catches during their repast ; and the old Pyrrhic 
game of the sword-dance,^ handed down since the 
time of the Romans, was admirably performed ia 
the court-yard of the mansion by a band of young 
men, lithe and supple in their forms and graceful 
in their movements, who, I was told, went tho 
rounds of the villages and country-seats during 
the Christmas holidays. 

I specify these rural pageants and ceremonialsi 
which I saw during my sojourn in this neighbor- 
hood, because it has been deemed that some of 
the ^ecdotes of holiday customs giveu iu my 



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NEW8TEAD ABBEY. t&ft 

(H'ecediDg writings related to usages which baTe 
entirely passed away. Critics who reside in 
cities have little idea of the primitive manners and 
observances which still prevail in remote and 
rural neighborhoods. 

In &ct, in crossing the Trent one seems to step 
back into old times ; and in the villages of Sher- 
wood Forest we are in a black-letter region. 
The moss-green cottages, the lowly mansions of 
gray stone, the Gothic crosses at each end of the 
villages, and the tall May-pole in the centre, 
transport us in imagination to foregone centuries ; 
everything has a quaint and antiquated air. 

The tenantry on the Abbey estate partake of 
this primitive character. Some of the families 
have rented farms there for nearly three hundred 
years ; and, notwithstanding that their mansions 
fell to decay, and everything about them partook 
of the general waste and misrule of the Byron 
dynasty, yet nothing could uproot them from their 
native soil. I am happy to say that Colonel 
Wildman has taken these stanch loyal families 
under his peculiar care. He has favored them 
in their rents, repaired, or rather rebuilt their 
&rm-houses, and has enabled fiimilies that had 
almost sunk into the class of mere rustic laborers 
once more to hold up their heads among the yeo- 
manry of the land. 

I visited one of these renovated establishments 
that had but lately been a mere ruin, and now 
was a substantial grange. It was inhabited by a 
young couple. The good woman showed every 
part of the establishment with decent pride, ex- 



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854 



CRAYON MISCELLANY. 



lilting in its oomfort and respectability. Her 
husband, I understood, had risen in consequence 
with the improvement of his mansion, and now 
began to be known among his rustic neighborB 
hj the appellation of ^ the young Squire." 




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OLD SERVANTS. 

In an old, time-worn, and mysterious-looko 
ing mansion like Newstead Abbey, and 
one so haunted by monkish and feudal 
and poetical associations, it is a prize to meet 
with some ancient crone, who has passed a long 
life about the place, so as to have become a living 
chronicle of its fortunes and vicissitudes. Such 
a one is Nanny Smith, a worthy dame, near sev- 
enty years of age, who for a long time served as 
housekeeper to the Byrons. The Abbey and its 
domains comprise her world, beyond which she 
knows nothing, but within which she has ever 
conducted herself with native shrewdness and old- 
&shioned honesty. When Lord Byron sold the 
Abbey, her vocation was at end, still she lingered 
about the place, having for it the local attachment 
of a cat Abandoning her comfortable house- 
keeper's apartment, she took shelter in one of the 
^rock houses,'' which are nothing more than a 
little neighborhjod of cabins, excavated in the 
perpendicular walls of a stone quarry, at no great 
distance fix>m the Abbey. Three cells, cut in the 
living rock, formed her dwelling ; these she fitted 
up humbly but comfortably; her son William 
labored in the neighborhood, and aided to sup* 

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I 



S56 CRAYON MiaCELLANT, 

port her, and Nanny Smith maintained a cheerfiil 
aspect and an independent spirit One of her 
gossips suggested to her that William should 
marry, and bring home a young wife to help her 
and take care of her. " Nay, nay," replied Nanny, 
tartly, " I want no young mistress in my housed 
So much for the love of rule — poor Nanny's 
house was a hole in a rock ! 

Colonel Wildman, on taking possession of the 
Abbey, found Nanny Smith thus humbly nestled. 
With that active benevolence which characterizes 
him, he immediately set William up in a small 
&rm on the estate, where Nanny Smith has a 
comfortable mansion in her old days. Her pride 
is roused by her son's advancement She re- 
marks with exultation that people treat William 
with much more respect now that he is a former, 
than they did when he was a laborer. A former 
of the neighborhood has even endeavored to make 
a match between him and his sister, but Nanny 
SmiUi has grown fosddious, and inteifered. Tli^ 
girl, she said, was too old for her son ; besides, 
she did not see that he was in any need of a wife. 

" No," said William, *' I ha' no great mind to 
marry the wench; but if the Colonel and his 
lady wish it, I am willing. They have been so 
kind to me that I should think it my duty to 
please them." The Colonel and his lady, how- 
ever, have not thought proper to put honest Wil- 
liam's gratitude to so severe a test 

Another worthy whom Colonel Wildman found 
vegetaEting upon the place, and who had lived 
there for at least sixty years, was old Joe Mornqf; 



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NEWaTEAD ABBEY. 857 

He had oome there when a mere hoj in the tnun 
t)f the ^ old lord/' about the middle of the last 
century, and had continued with him until his 
death. Having been a cabin-boy when very 
young, Joe always fancied himself a bit of a sailor, 
and had charge of all the pleasure-boats on the 
lake, though he afterwards rose to the dignity of 
butler. In the latter days of the old Lord 
Byron, when he shut himself up from all the 
world, Joe Murray was the only servant retained 
by him, excepting his housekeeper, Betty Hard- 
staff, who was reputed to have an undue sway 
over him, and was derisively called Lady Betty, 
among the country folk. 

When the Abbey came into the possession of 
the late Lord Byron, Joe Murray accompanied it 
as a £xture. He was reinstated as butler in the 
Abbey, and high admiral on the lake, and his 
sturdy honest mastiff qualities won so upon Lord 
Byron as even to rival his Newfoundland dog in 
nis affections. Oflen, when dining, he would pour 
out a bumper of choice Madeira, and hand it to 
Joe as he stood behind his chair. In fact, when 
he built the monumental tomb which stands in 
the Abbey garden, he intended it for himself, Joe 
Murray, and the dog. The two latter were to 
lie on each side of him. Boatswain died not long 
afterwards, and was regularly interred, and the 
well-known epitaph inscribed on one side of the 
monument Lord Byron departed for Greece; 
during his absence a gentleman, to whom Joe 
Murray was showing the tomb, observed, " Well, 
old boy, you will take your place here some 
twenty years hence." 

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35S CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

^ I don't know that, sir/' growled Joe, in reply $ 
'* if I was sure his Lordship would come here, I 
should like it well enough, but I should not like 
to lie alone with the dog." 

Joe Murray was always extremely neat in his 
dress, and attentive to his person, and made a 
most respectable appearance. A portrait of him 
still hangs in the Abbey, representing him a hale 
fresh-looking fellow, in ^ flaxen wig, a blue coat 
and buff waistcoat, with a pipe in his hand. He 
discharged all the duties of his station with great 
fidelity, unquestionable honesty, and much out- 
ward decorum ; but, if we may believe his con- 
temporary, Nanny Smith, who, as housekeeper, 
shared the sway of the household with him, he 
was very lax in his minor morals, and used to 
sing loose and profane songs as he presided at the 
table in the servants' hall, or sat taking his^ ale 
and smoking his pipe by the evening fire. Joe 
had evidently derived his convivial notions from 
the race of English country squires who flourished 
in the days of his juvenility. Nanny Smith was 
scandalized at his ribald songs, but -being above 
harm herself, endured them in silence. At length, 
on his singing them before a young girl of six- 
teen, she could contain herself no longer, but read 
him a lecture that made his ears ring, and then 
flounced off to bed. The lecture seems, by her 
account, to have staggered Joe, for he told her the 
next morning that he had' had a terrible dream 
in the night An Evangelist stood at the foot of 
his bed with a great Dutch Bible, which he held 
with the printed part towards him, and after a 



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NEW8TEAD ABBEY, 359 

while pushed it in his face. Nanny Smith un- 
dertook to interpret the vision, and read from it 
such a homilj, and deduced such awftd warmngs, 
that Joe became quite serious, left off singing, and 
took to reading good books for a month ; but 
after that, continued Nanny, he relapsed and be- 
came as bad as ever, and continued to sing loose 
and pro&ne songs to his dying day. 

When Colonel Wildman became proprietor of 
the Abbey, he found Joe Murray flourishing in a 
green old age, though upwards of fourscore, and 
continued him in his station as butler. The old 
man was rejoiced at the extensive repairs that 
were immediately commenced, and anticipated 
with pride the day when the Abbey should rise 
out of its ruins with renovated splendor, its gates 
be thronged with trains and equipages, and its 
halls once more echo to the sound of joyous hos- 
pitality. 

What chiefly, however, concerned Joe's pride 
and ambition, was a plan of the Colonel's to 
have the ancient refectory of the convent, a great 
vaulted room, supported by Gothic columns, con- 
verted into a servants' hall. Here Joe looked 
forward to rule the roast at the head of the ser- 
vants' table, and to make the Gothic arches ring 
with those hunting and hard-drinking ditties 
which were the horror of the discreet Nanny 
Smith. Time, however, was fast wearing away 
with him, and his great fear was that the hall 
would not be completed in his day. In his eager- 
ness to hasten the repairs, he used to get up 
early in the morning, and ring up the workmen. 

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d0O CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

Notwithstanding his great age, also, he would 
turn out half-dressed in cold weather to cut sticka 
for the fire. Colonel Wildmau kindly remon- 
strated with him for thus risking his health, as 
others would do the work for him. 

'^ Lord, sir," exclaimed the hale old fellow, 
" it 's my air-bath, I 'm all the better for it" 

Unluckily, as he was thus employed one morn- 
ing, a splinter flew up and wounded one of his 
eyes. An inflammation took place ; he k>st the 
sight of that eye, and subsequently of the other* 
Poor Joe gradually pined away, and grew mel- 
ancholy. Colonel Wildman kindly tried to cheer 
him up. " Come, come, old boy," cried he, ^ be 
of good heart ; you will yet take your place in the 
servants* hall." 

" Nay, nay, sir," replied he, " I did hope once 
that I should live to see it : I looked forward to 
it with pride, I confess ; but it is all over with me 
now, — I shall soon go home ! " 

He died shortly afterwards, at the advanced 
age of eighty-six, seventy of which had been 
passed as an honest and &ithful servant at the 
Abbey. Colonel Wildman had him decently in- 
terred in the church of Hucknall Torkard, near 
the vault of Lord Byron. 



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SUPERSTITIONS OF THE ABBEY* 

I HE anecdotes I had heard of the quon« 
dam housekeeper of Lord Byron, ren- 
dered me desirous of paying her a visit. 
I rode in company with Colonel Wildman, there- 
fore, to the cottage of her son William, where 
she resides, and found her seated by her firoside, 
with a favorite cat perched upon her shoulder and 
purring in her ear. Nanny Smith is a large, 
good-looking woman, a specimen of the old-fash- 
ioned country housewife, combining antiquated 
notions and prejudices, and very limited informa- - 
taon, with natural good sense. She loves to gos- 
sip about the Abbey and Lord Byron, and was 
soon drawn into a course of anecdotes, though 
mostly of an humble kind, such as suited the 
meridian of the housekeeper's room and servants' 
hall. She seemed to entertain a kind recollection 
of IjGrd Byron, though she had evidently been 
much perplexed by some of his vagaries ; and 
especially by the means he adopted to counteract 
his tendency to corpulency. He used various 
modes to sweat himself down : sometimes he 
would lie for a long time in a warm bath, some- 
timee he would walk up the hiUs in the park. 



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802 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

wrapped np and loaded with great-coats ; ^ a sad 
toil for the poor yoath," added Nanny, ^ he being 
80 lame." 

His meals were scanty and irregular, consisting 
of dishes which Nanny seemed to hold in great 
contempt, sach as pikw, maccaroni, and light 
puddmgs. 

She contradicted the report of the licentious life 
which he was reported to lead at the Abbey, and 
of the paramours said to have been brought with 
him &om London. ^A great part of his time 
used to be passed lying on a sofa reading. Some* 
times he had young gentlemen of his acquaint- 
ance with him, and they played some mad 
pranks ; but nothing but what young gentlemen 
may do, and no harm done." 

" Once, it is true," she added, " he had with 
him a beautii^l boy as a page, which the house* 
maids said was a girl. For my part, I know 
nothing about it. Poor soul, he was so lame he 
could not go out much with the men; all the 
comfort he had was to be a little with the lasses. 
The housemaids, however, were very jealous ; 
one of them, in particular, took the matter in 
great dudgeon. Her name was Lucy ; she was 
a great fevorite with Lord Byron, and had been 
much noticed by him, and began to have high 
notions. She had her fortune told by a man who 
squinted, to whom she gave two-and-sixpenoe* 
He told her to hold up her head and look high, 
for she would come to great things. Upon this,^ 
added Nanny, ^ the poor thing dreamt of nothing 
less than becoming a lady, and mistress of the 

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NEWSTEAD ABBEY. 868 

Abbej; and promised me, if such luck should 
happen to her, she would be a good friend to me* 
Ah, welladay I Lucy never had the fine fortune 
she dreamt of; but she had better than I thought 
for ; she is now married, and keeps a public house 
at Warwick." 

Finding that we listened to her with great at- 
tention, Namij Smith went on with her gossiping. 
<< One times" said she, ^' Lord Byron took a notion 
that there was a deal of money buried about the 
Abbey by the monks in old times, and nothing 
would serve him but he must have the flagging 
taken up in the cloisters ; and they digged and 
digged, but found nothing but stone coffins full 
of bones. Then he must needs have one of the 
coffins put in one end of the great hall, so that 
the servants were afraid to go there of nights. 
Several of the skulls were cleaned and put in 
frames in his room. I used to have to go into 
the room at night to shut the windows, and if I 
glanced an eye at them, they all seemed to grin ; 
which I believe skulls always do. I can't say 
but I was glad to get out of the room. 

" There was at one time (and for that matter 
there is still) a good deal said about ghosts haunt- 
ing about the Abbey. The keeper's wife said she 
saw two standing in a dark part of the cloisters 
just opposite the chapel, and one in the garden by 
the lord's welL Then there was a young lady, a 
cousin of Lord Byron, who was staying in the 
Abbey and slept in the room next the dock ; and 
die told me that one night when she was lying in 
bed, she saw a lady in white come out of the wall 



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SM CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

on one side of the room, and go into the w# 

the opposite side. i 

<*Lord Byron one day said to me, *F 
what nonsCTise they tell about ghosts, as i 
ever were any such things. I have nev 
anything of the kind about the Abbej 
warrant you have not.* This was all 
you see, to draw me out; but I said i^ 
shook my head. However, they say hi 
did once see something. It was in 
hall: something all black and hairy; 
was the deviL 

"For my part,'* continued Nann} 
never saw anything of the kind, -— 
something once. I was one evenL 
the floor of the little dining-room at 
long gallery ; it was after dark ; I f 
moment to be called to tea, but w 
what I was about. All at once 
footsteps in the great hall. The 
the tramp of a horse. I took tht 
to see what it was. I heard the - 

the lower end of the hall to the " 
centre, where they stopped ; but , ^ 

ing. I returned to my work, ai " — ^ ~ 
heard the same noise again. I * " * ^ .5. ^ ^^ 
the light; the footsteps stoppe^ ~ ^^c ^ "•^ - 
as before; still I could see no^ "^ ^ ,vr'**" * i 
10 my work, when I heard thir^ "*" - 4 ^^"^ '^-^j 
time. I then went into the hr^ '*'^^ii*«^ ,, "^ ^i 
but they stopped just the san ""^"^^^t^i t^ ^^^^ ^ :2Vt^ 
half-way up the halL I thoug"^ Ctf ^ "*' o>r,ti 
hut returned to my work. Wh^ ^^^ii^z^^ ''^''^='*'-*n. v i 

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NEW3TEAD ABBEY. 86S 

I took the light and went through the hall, as 
that was my way to the kitchen. I heard no 
more footsteps, and thought no more of the mat* 
ter, when, on coming to the lower end of the hall, 
I found the door locked, and then, on one side of 
the door, I saw the stone coffin with the skull and 
bones that had been digged up in the cbisters." 

Here Nanny paused : I asked her if she be- 
lieved that the mysterious footsteps had any con- 
nection with the skeleton in the coffin ; but she 
shook her head, and would not commit herself. 
"We took our leave of the good old dame shortly 
afler, and the story she had related gave subject 
for conversation on our ride homeward. It was 
evident she had spoken the truth as to what she 
had heard, but had been deceived by some pecu- 
liar effect of sound. Noises are propagated 
about a huge irregular edifice of the kind in a 
very deceptive manner; footsteps are prolonged 
and reverberated by the vaulted cloisters and 
echoing halls ; the creaking and slamming of dis- 
tant gates, the rushing of the blast through the 
groves and among the ruined arches of the chapel, 
have all a strangely delusive effect at night 

Cblcmel Wikiman gave an instance of the kind 
fix>m his own experience. Not long after he had 
taken up his residence at the Abbey, he heard 
one moonlight night a noise as if a carriage was 
passing at a distance. He opened the window 
and leaned out It then seemed as if the great 
iron roller was dragged along the gravel-walks 
and terraoe, but there was nothing to be seen. 
Wbea he saw the gardener on the following 



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866 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

morniogy he questioned him about working so 
late at night. The gardener declared that no 
one had been at work, and the roller was chained 
up. He was sent to examine it, and came back 
with a cotmtenance full of surprise. The roller 
had been moved in the night, but he declared no 
mortal hand could have moved it " Well," re- 
plied the Colonel, good-humoredly, "I am glad 
to find I have a brownie to work for me.** 

Lord Byron did much to foster and give cur- 
rency to the superstitious tales connected with 
the Abbey, by believing, or pretending to be- 
lieve in tiiem. Many have supposed that his 
mind was really tinged with superstition, and that 
this innate infirmity was increased by passing 
much of his time in a lonely way, about the 
empty halls and cloisters of the Abbey, then in 
a ruinous melancholy state, and brooding over the 
skuUs and effigies of its former inmates. I should 
rather think that he found poetical enjoyment in 
these supernatural themes, and that his imagina- 
tion delighted to people this gloomy and romantic 
pile with all kinds of shadowy inhabitants. Cer- 
tain it is, the aspect of the mansion under the 
varying influence of twilight and moonlight, and 
cloud and sunshine operating upon its halls, and 
galleries, and monkish cloisters, is enough to 
breed all kinds of fimcies in the minds of its 
inmates, especially if poetically or superstitiously 
inclined. 

I have already mentioned some of the fabled 
visitants of the Abbey. The goblin friar, how- 
ever, is the one to whom Lord Byron has given 



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NEW8TEAD ABBEY, 867 

the greatest importance. It wfdked the cloisters 
bj night, and sometimes glimpses of it were seen 
in other parts of the Abbey. Its appearance was 
said to portend some impending evil to the master 
of the mansion. Lord Byron pretended to have 
seen it about a month before he contracted his 
ill-starred marriage with Miss Milbanke. 

He has embodied this tradition in the follow- 
ing ballad, in which he represents the friar as one 
of the ancient inmates of the Abbey, maintaining 
by night a kind of spectral possession of it, in 
right of the fraternity. Other traditions, how- 
ever, represent him as one of the friars doomed 
to wander about the place in atonement for hia 
crimes. But to the ballad. 

" Beware ! beware! of the Black Friar, 

Who sitteth by Norman stone, 
For he mutters his prayer in the midnight air, 

And his mass of the days that are gone. 
When the Lord of the Hill, Amundeville, 

Made Norman Church his prey, 
And expelPd the friars, one friar still 

Would not be driven away. 

*' Though he came in his might, with King Hemy's right, 

To turn church lands to lay, 
With sword in hand, and torch to light 

Their walls, if they said nay, 
A monk remained, unchased, unchain'd. 

And he did not seem formed of day, 
For he 's seen in the porch, and he 's seen In the chmch, 

Though he is not seen by day. 

•* And whether for good, or whether for ill. 
It is not mine to say ; 
But still to the house of AmundevOle 
He abideth night and day. 
24 



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868 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

"By the marriage-bed of their lords, *t is sai^ 

He flits on the bridal eve; 
And 'tis held as faith, to their bed of death 

He comes — but not to grieve. 

** When an heir is bom, he is heard to rnonm, 

And when aught is to befall 
That ancient Hue, in the pale moonshine 

He walks from hall to hall. 
His form you may trace, but not hie fiice, 

'T is shadowed by his cowl; 
But his eyes may be seen from the folds betireen 

And they seem of a parted soul. 

**' Bat beware ! beware of the Black Friar, 

He still retains his sway, 
For he is yet the church's heir 

Whoever may be the lay. 
Amundeville is lord by day, 

But the monk is lord by night, 
Kor wine nor wassail could raise a vassal 

To question that friar's right 

** Say naught to him as he walks the hall, 

And he '11 say naught to you; 
He sweeps along in his dusky pall, 

As o'er the grass the dew. 
Then gramercy ! for the Black Friar; 

Heaven sain him ! fair or foul. 
And whatsoe'er may be his prayer, 

Let ours be for his soul." 

Such is the story of the goblin friar, which, 
partly through old tradition, and partly through 

tinflueniN3 of Lord Byron's rhymes, has he- 
k completely established in the Abbey, and 
pens to hold possession as long as Uie old 
re aluiU endure. Various visitors have either 
ed, or pretended to have seen him, and a 
^ of Lord Byron, Miss Sally ParkiaSy is 



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i 



NEW8TEAD ABBEY. 8W 

even said to have made a sketch of him from 
memory. Ab to the servants at the Abbej, they 
have become possessed with all kinds of super- 
stitious fancies. The long corridors and Gothic 
halls, with their ancient portraits and dark figures s 
in armor, are all haunted regions to them ; they 
even fear to sleep alone, and will scarce venture 
at night on any distant errand about the Abbey 
unless they go in couples. 

Even the magnificent chamber in which I was 
lodged was subject to the supernatural influences 
which reigned over the Abbey, and was said to 
be haunted by " Sir John Byron the Little with 
the great Beard." The ancient black-looking 
portrait of this family worthy, which hangs over 
the door of the great saloon, was said to descend 
occasionally at midnight from the frame, and walk 
the rounds of the state apartments. Nay, his 
visitations were not confined to the night, for a 
young lady, on a visit to the Abbey some years 
since, declared that, on passing in broad day by 
the door of the identical chamber I have de- 
scribed, which stood partly open, she saw Sir 
John Byron the Little seated by the fireplace, 
reading out of a great black-letter book. From 
this circumstance some have been led to suppose 
that the story of Sir John Byron may be in some 
measure connected with the mysterious sculptures 
of the chimneypiece already mentioned ; but this 
has no countenance from the most authentic anti- 
quarians of the Abbey. 

For my own part, the moment I learned the 
wonderful stories and strange suppositions con* 



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870 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

nected with my apartment, it became an imagi- 
nary realm to me. As I lay in bed at night and 
gazed at the mysterious panel-work, where Gothic 
knight, and Christian dame, and Faynim lover 
gazed upon me in effigy, I used to weave a thou- 
sand fancies concerning them. The great figures 
in the tapestry, also, were almost animated by the 
workings of my imagination, and the Vandyke 
portraits of the cavalier and lady that looked 
down with pale aspects from the wall, had almost 
a spectral effect, from their immovable gaze and 
silent companionship ; — 

** For by dim lights the portraits of the dead 
Have something ghastly, desolate, and dread. 

.... Their buried lockis still wave 
Along the canvas ; their eyes glance like dreams 

On onrs, as spars within some dusky cave, 
But death is mingled in their shadowy beams.*' 

In this way I used to conjure up fictions of 
the brain, and clothe the objects around me with 
ideal interest and import, unti^ as the Abbey 
dock tolled midnight, I almost looked to see Sir 
John Byron the Little with the long Beard stalk 
into the room with his book under his arm, and 
sake his seat beside the mysterious chimneypieoe. 




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ANNESLEY HALL. 

IT about three miles' distance from New- 
stead Abbey, and contiguous to its lands, 
is situated Anneslej Hall, the old fam- 
ily mansion of the Chaworths. The families, 
like the estates, of the Byrons and Chaworths 
were connected in former times, until the fatal 
duel between their two representatives. The 
feud, however, which prevailed for a time, prom- 
ised to be cancelled by the attachment of two 
youthful hearts. While Lord Byron was yet a 
boy, he beheld Mary Ann Chaworth, a beautiful 
girl, and the sole heiress of Annesley. With 
that susceptibility to female charms which he 
evinced almost from childhood, he became almost 
immediately enamored of her. According to one 
of his biographers, it would appear that at first 
their attachment was mutual, yet clandestine. 
The fether of Miss Chaworth was then living, 
and may have retained somewhat of the family 
hostility, for we are told that the interviews of 
Liord Byron and the young lady were private, at 
a gate which opened from her father's grounds to 
those of Newstead. However, they were so 
yeoDg at the time that these meetings could not 



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872 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

have been regarded as of any importance : they 
were little more than children in years ; bnt, as 
Lord Byron says of himself, his feelings were 
beyond his age. 

The passion thus early conceived was blown 
into a flame, during a six weeks' vacation whidi 
he passed with his mother at Nottingham. The 
father of Miss Chaworth was dead, and she re- 
sided with her mother at the old Hall of Annes- 
ley. During Byron's minority, the estate of 
Newstead was let to Lord Grey de Ruthen, but 
its youthful Lord was always a welcome guest 
at the Abbey. He would pass days at a time 
there, and make frequent visits thence to Annes- 
ley Hall. His visits were encouraged by Miss 
Chaworth's mother; she partook none of the 
family feud, and probably looked with compla- 
cency upon an attachment that might heal old 
dijBTerences and unite two neighboring estates. 

The six weeks' vacation passed as a dream 
amongst the beautiful flowers of Annesley. Byron 
was scarce fifteen years of age, Mary Chaworth 
was two years older; but his hearty as I have 
said, was beyond his age, and his tenderness for 
her was deep and passionate. These early loves, 
like the first run of the uncrushed grape, are the 
sweetest and strongest gushings of the benrt, nnd 
however they may be superseded by other ^' '^ 
ments in after-years, the memory will 2oa^ - 
recur to them, and fondly dwell upon 
oUections. 

His love for Miss Chawortb, to 
Byron's own expression, was ^^ the ro 



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-m 



NEW8THA2) ABBEY. 879 

tbe most romantic period of his life," and I think 
we can trace the effect of it throughout the whole 
course of his writings, coming up every now and 
then, like some lurking theme which runs through 
a complicated piece of music, and links it all in 
a pervading chain of melody. 

How tenderly and mournfully does he recall, 
m after-years, the feelings awakened in his youth- 
ful and inexperienced hosom by this impassioned, 
yet innocent attachment; feelings, he says, lost 
or hardened in the intercourse of life : — 

" The love of better things and better days; 

Tbe nnbonnded hope, and heavenly ignoranoe 
Of what is called the world, and the world's ways; 

The moments when we gather from a glance 
More joy than from all future pride or praise, 

Which kindle manhood, but can ne*er entrance 
The heart in an existence of its own, 
Of which another's bosom is the zone." 

Whether this love was really responded to by 
the object, is uncertain. Byron sometimes speaks 
as if he had met with kindness in return, at other 
times he acknowledges that she never gave him 
reason to believe she loved him. It is probable, 
however, that at first she experienced some flut- 
terings of the heart She was of a susceptible 
age ; had as yet formed no other attachments ; 
her lover, though boyish in years, was a man in 
intellect, a poet in imagination, and had a coun- 
tenance of remarkable beauty. 

With the six weeks' vacation ended this brief 
romance. Byron returned to school deeply enam^ 
ored ; but if he had really made any imfuresaioo 



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874 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

on Miss Chaworth's heart, it was too sL'ght to 
stand the test of absence. She was at that age 
when a female soon changes from the girl to the 
woman, and leaves her boyish lovers fax behind 
her. While Byron was pursuing his school-boy 
studies, she was mingling with society, and met 
with a gentleman of the name of Musters, re- 
markable, it is said, for manly beauty. A story 
is told of her having first seen him from the top 
of Annesley Hall, as he dashed through the park, 
with hound and horn, taking the lead of the 
whole field in a fox -chase, and that she was 
struck by the spirit of his appearance, and his 
admirable horsemanship. Under such favorable 
auspices he wooed and won her ; and when Lord 
Byron next met her, he learned to his dismay 
that she was the affianced bride of another. 

With that pride of spirit which always distin- 
guished him, he controlled his feelings and main- 
tained a serene countenance. He even affected 
to speak calmly on the subject of her approaching 
nuptials. " The next time I see you," said he, 
" I suppose you will be Mrs. Chaworth," (for she 
was to retain her family name.) Her reply was, 
" I hope so." 

I have given these brief details preparatory to 
a sketch of a visit which I made to the scene of 
this youthful romance. Annesley Hall I under- 
stood was shut up, neglected, and almost in a 
state of desolation ; for Mr. Musters rarely visited 
it, residing with his family in the neighborhood 
of Nottingham. I set out for the Hall on horse- 
back, in company with Colonel Wildman, and 

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NEWSTEAD ABBEY. 876 

followed bj the great Newfoundland dog Boat- 
swain. In the course of our ride we visited a 
spot memorable in the love-story I have cited. 
It waa the scene of this parting interview be- 
tween Byron and Miss • Chaworth, prior to her 
marriage. A long ridge of upland advances into 
the valley of Newstead, like a promontory into a 
lake, and was formerly crowned by a beautiful 
grove, a landmark to the neighboring country. 
The grove and promontory are graphically de- 
scribed by Lord Byron in his " Dream," and an 
exquisite picture given of himself, and the lovely 
object of his boyish idolatry : — 

" I saw two beings in the hues of youth 
Standing upon a hill, a gentle hiU, 
Green, and of mild declivity, the last 
As 't were the cape of a long ridge of such, 
Save that there was no sea to lave its base, 
But a most living landscape, and the wave 
Of woods and cornfields, and the abodes of men, 
Scattered at intervals, and wreathing smoke 
Arising from such rustic roofe ; — the hill 
Was crown'd with a peculiar diadem 
Of trees, in circular array, so fixed. 
Not by the sport of Nature, but of man : 
These two a maiden and a youth, were there 
Gazing — the one on all that was beneath 
Fair as herself — but the boy gazed on her; 
And both were fair, and one was beautiful : 
And both were young — yet not unlike in youth. 
As the sweet moon in the horizon's verge, 
The maid was on the verge of womanhood: 
The boy had fewer simimers, but his heart 
Had far outgrown his years, and to his eye 
There was but one beloved &ce on earth, 
And that was shining on him.*' 

I Stood upon the spot consecrated by this 

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* 



876 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

memorable interview. Below me extended liie 
^living landscape," once contemplated hj tbe 
loving pair; the gentle valley of Newstead, di- 
versified by woods and cornfields, and village 
spires, and gleams of water, and the distant 
towers and pinnacles of the venerable Abbey. 
The diadem of trees, however, was gone. The 
attention drawn to it by the poet, and the roman- 
tic manner in which he had associated it with his 
early passion for Mary Chaworth, had nettled the 
irritable feelings of her husband, who but iH 
brooked the poetic celebrity conferred on his 
wife by the enamored verses of another. The 
celebrated grove stood on his estate, and in a fit 
of spleen he ordered it to be levelled with llie 
dust. At the time of my visit the mere roots of 
the trees were visible; but the hand that laid 
them low is execrated by every poetical pilgrim. 
Descending the hill, we soon entered a part 
of what once was Annesley Park, and rode 
among time-worn and tempest-riven oaks and 
elms, with ivy clambering about their trunks, and 
rooks' nests among their branches. The park 
had been cut up by a post-road, crossing which, 
we came to the gate-house of Annesley HalL 
It was an old brick building that might have 
served as an outpost or barbacan to the Hall 
during the civil wars, when every gentleman's 
house was liable to become a fortress. Loopholes 
were still visible in its walls, but the peaceful 
ivy had mantled the sides, overrun the roo^ and 
almost buried the ancient clock in fronts that still 
marked the waning hours of its decay. 



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NEWaTEAD ABBEY. 877 

An ardied way led tlirough the centre of the 
^te-house, secured by grated doors of open iron* 
work, wrought into flowers and flourishes. These 
being thrown open, we entered a paved court* 
yaa^, decorated with shrubs and antique flower- 
pots, with a ruined stone fountain in the centre. 
The whole approach resembled that of an old 
French chateau. 

On one side of the court-yard was a range of 
stables, now tenantless, but which bore traces of 
the fox-hunting squire; for there were stalls 
boxed up, into which the hunters might be turned 
loose when they came home from th» chase. 

At the lower end of the court, and immedi- 
ately opposite the gate-house, extended the Hall 
itself; a rambling, irregular pile, patched and 
pieced at various times, and in various tastes, 
with gable ends, stone balustrades, and enormous 
chimneys, that strutted out like buttresses from 
the walls. The whole front of the edifice was 
overrun with evergreens. 

We applied for admission at the front door, 
which was under a heavy porch. The portal 
was strongly barricadoed, and our knocking was 
echoed by waste and empty halls. Everything 
bore an appearance of abandonment, ^ter a 
lime, however, our knocking summoned a solitary 
tenant from some remote comer of the pile. It 
was a decent-looking little dame, who emerged 
from a side-door at a distance, and seemed a wor- 
thy inmate of the antiquated mansion. She had, 
in fact, grown old with it. Her name, she said, 
was Nanny Marsden; if she lived until next 



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378 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

August, she would be seventy-one : a great part 
of her life had been passed in the Hall, and when 
the family had removed to Nottingham, she had 
been left in charge of it The front of the house 
had been thus warily barricadoed in consequence 
of the late riots at Nottingham, in the course 
of which the dwelling of her master had been 
sacked by the mob. To guard against any at- 
tempt of the kind upon the Hall, she had put it 
in this state of defence ; though I rather think 
she and a superannuated gardener comprised the 
whole garrison. ^^ You must be attached to the 
old building," said I, " after having lived so long 
in it." — " Ah, sir ! " replied she, " I am getting in 
yearsy and have a fiimished cottage of my own 
in Annesley Wood, and begin to feel as if I 
should like to go and live in my own home." 

Guided by the worthy little custodian 'of the 
fortress, we entered through the sally-port by 
which she had issued forth, and soon found our- 
selves in a spacious but somewhat gloomy hall, 
where the light was partially admitted through 
square stone-shafted windows, overhung with ivy. 
Everything around us had the air of an old- 
fashioned country squire's establishment. In the 
centre of the hall was a billiard-table, and about 
the walls were hung portraits of race-horses, hunt- 
ers, and favorite dogs, mingled indiscriminately 
with family pictures. 

Staircases led up from the hall to various 
apartments. In one of the rooms we were shown 
a couple of buff jerkins, and a pair of ancient 
jackboots^ of the time of the cavaliers; relics 



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NEWaTEAD ABBEY. 379 

which are often to be met with in the old Eng- 
lish family mansions. These, however, had pe- 
culiar value, for the good little dame assured us 
they had belonged to Hobin Hood. As we were 
In the midst of the region over which that famous 
outlaw once bore rufi&an sway, it was not for us 
to gainsay his claim to 91iy of these venerable 
relics, though w« might have demurred that the 
articles of dress here shown were of a date much 
later than his time. Every antiquity, however, 
about Sherwood Forest is apt to be linked with 
the memory of Eobin Hood and his gang. 

As we were strolling about the mansion, our 
four-footed attendant, Boatswain, followed leisure- 
ly, as if taking a survey of the premises. I turned 
to rebuke him for his intrusion, but the moment 
the old housekeeper understood he had belonged 
to Lord Byron, her heart seemed to yearn towards 
him. 

" Nay, nay," exclcumed she, " let him alone, 
let him go where he pleases. He's welcome. 
Ah, dear me ! If he lived here I should take 
great care of him — he should want for nothing. 
Well ! ** continued she, fondling him, " who would 
have thought that I should see a dog of Lord 
Byron in Annesley Hall ! '* 

" I suppose, then," said I, " you recollect some- 
thing of Lord Byron, when he used to visit 
here .? " — " Ah, bless him ! " cried she, « that I 
do ! He used to ride over here and stay three 
days at a time, and sleep in the blue room. Ah 1 
poor fellow ! He was very much taken with my 
young mistress ; he used to walk about the gar- 



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880 CRATON MISCELLANY. 

den and the terraces with her, and seemed to 
love the very ground she trod on. He used to 
call her kU bright morning star of Annedey.** 

I felt the heauti^ poetic phrase thrill through 
me* 

" You appear to like the memory of Lord By- 
ron," said I. 

" Ah, sir ! why should not I ? He was al- 
ways main good to me when he came here. 
Well ! well ! they say it is a pity he and my 
young lady did not make a match. Her mother 
would have liked it He was always a welcome 
guest, and some think it would have been weU 
for him to have had her ; but it was not to be I 
He went away to school, and then Mr. Musters 
saw her, and so things took their course.*' 

The simple soul now showed us into the fa- 
vorite sitting-room of Miss Chaworth, with a 
small flower-garden under the windows, in which 
she had delighted. In this room Byron used to 
sit and listen to her as she played and sang^ 
gazing upon her with the passionate and almost 
painful devotion of a love-sick stripling. He 
himself gives us a glowing picture of his mate 
idolatry : — 

" He had no breath, no bemg, but in hers ; 
She was his voice; he did not speak to her, 
But trembled on her words ; she was his sight, 
For his eye followed hers, and saw with hers, 
Which colored all his objects; — he had ceased 
To live within himself; she was his life. 
The ocean to the river of his thoughts, 
Which terminated all: upon a tone, 
▲ touch of hers, his blood would ebb and flow, 



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NEWSTEAD ABBEY, 8S1^ 

And his disek change tempestiumBlj — his hoari 
Unknowiiig of its cause of agonj.'* 

There was a little Webh air, called ^ Mary Ann," 
which, from bearing her own name, he associated 
with herseli^ and often persuaded her to sing it 
oyer and over for him. 

The chamber, like all the other parts of the 
house, had a look of sadness and neglect; the 
flowerets beneath the window, which cmoe 
bloomed beneath the hand of Mary Chaworth, 
were oyerrun with weeds ; and the piano, which 
had once vibrated to her touch, and thrilled the 
heart of her stripling lover, was now unstrung 
and out of tune. 

We continued our stroll about the waste apart- 
ments, of all shapes and sizes, and without much 
elegance of decoration. Some of them were hung 
with fiunilj portraits, among which was pointed 
out that of the Mr. Chaworth who was killed by 
the " wicked Lord Byron." 

These dismal-looking portraits had a powerful 
effect upon the imagination of the stripling poet, 
en his first visit to the Hall. As they gazed down 
from the wall, he thought they scowled upon him, 
as if they had .taken a grudge against him on ac* 
count of the duel of his ancestor. He even gave 
this as a reason, though probably in jest, for not 
Bleeping at the Hall, declaring that he feared they 
would come down from their frames at ni^t io 
haunt him. 

A feeling of the kind he has embodied in one 
of his stanzas of ^ Don Juan " : 

^ The fbnns of the grim knights and pictured saints 
Look living in the moon; and as you turn 

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^882 CRAYON MiaCELLANT, 

Backward and forwaid to the echoes fiunt 
Of your own footsteps — voices from the nm 

Appear to wake, and shadows wild and quaint 
Start from the frames which fence their aspects stent, 

As if to ask yon how you dare to keep 

A vigil there, where all but death should sleep." 

Nor was the youthful poet singular in these 
fancies ; the Hall, like most old English mansions 
that have ancient family portraits hanging about 
their dusky galleries and waste apartments, had 
its ghost-story connected with these pale memo- 
rials of the dead. Our simple-hearted conductor 
stopped before the portrait of a lady, who had 
been a beauty in her time, and ii]^bited the 
Hall in the heyday of her charms. Something 
mysterious or melancholy was connected with her 
story ; she died young, but continued for a long 
time to haunt the ancient mansion, to the great 
dismay of the servants, and the occasional dis- 
quiet of the visitors, and it was with much diffi- 
culty her troubled spirit was conjured down and 
put to rest 

From the rear of the Hall we walked out into 
the garden, about which Byron used to stroll and 
loiter in company with Miss Chaworth. It was 
laid out in the old French style. There was a 
long terraced walk, with heavy stone balustrades 
and sculptured urns, overrun with ivy and ever- 
greens. A neglected shrubbery bordered one 
side of the terrace, with a lofty grove inhabited 
by a venerable community of rooks. Great 
flights of steps led down ^om the terrace to a 
flower-garden, laid out in formal plots. The rear 
of the Hall, which overlooked the garden, had 



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NEW8TEAD ABBEY. ilSfe 

ihe weather-etaiiis of centuries; and its stone- 
shafted casements, and an ancient sun-dial against 
its wallSy carried back the mind to days of jore. 

The retired and quiet garden, once a little se- 
questered world of love and romance, was now 
fJl matted and wild, yet was beautiful even in its 
decay. Its air of neglect and desolation was in 
unison with the fortune of the two beings who 
had once walked here in the freshness of youth, 
and life, and beauty. The garden^ like their 
young hearts, had gone to waste and ruin. 

Beturning to the Hall, we now visited a cham- 
ber built over the porch, or grand entrance ; it 
was in a ruinous condition, the ceiling having 
£sdlen in, and the floor given way. This, how- 
ever, is a chamber rendered interesting by poeti- 
cal associations. It is supposed to be the ora- 
tory alluded to by Lord Byron in his « Dream,* 
wherein he pictures his departure from Annesley, 
after learning that Mary Chaworth was engs^ed 
to be married. 

There was an ancient mansion, and before 
Its walls there was a steed caparisoned; 
Within an antique Oratory stood 
Hie Boy of whom I spake ; — he was alone, 
And pale and pacing to and firo : anon 
He sate him down, and seized a pen, and tiaoed 
Words which I could not guess of; then he leim*d 
His bow'd head on his hands, and shook as 'twere 
With a convulsion — then arose again. 
And with his teeth and quiyering hands did tear 
What he had written, but he shed no tean. 
And he did calm himself, and fix his brow 
Into a kind of quiet; as he paused, 
The lady of his love reentered there; 
25 

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884 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

She was serene and smiling then, and jet 

She knew she was bj him beloved, — she knew, 

For quickly comes such knowledge, that his heart 

Was darken'd with her shadow, and she saw 

That he was wretched, but she saw not all. 

He rose, and with a cold and gentle gprasp 

He took her hand; a moment o'er his face 

A tablet of unutterable thoughts 

Was traced, and then it faded as it came ; 

He dropped the hand he held, and with slow steps 

Returned, but not as bidding her adien, 

For they did part with mutual smiles : — he passed 

From out the massy gate of that old Hall, 

And mounting on his steed he went his way, 

And ne'er repassed that hoary threshold more." 

In one of his journals, Lord Byron describes 
his feelings after tiius leaving the oratory. Arriv- 
ing on the summit of a hill, which commanded the 
last view of Annesley, he checked his horse, and 
gazed hack with mingled pain and fondness upon 
the groves which embowered the Hall, and thought 
upon the lovely being that dwelt there, until his 
feelings were quite dissolved in tenderness. The 
conviction at length recurred that she never could 
be his, when, rousing himself from his reverie, 
he struck his spurs into his steed and dashed for- 
ward, as if by rapid motion to leave reflection 
behind him. 

Yet, notwithstanding what he asserts in the 
verses last quoted, he did pass the " hoary thresh- 
old " of Annesley again. It was, however, after 
the lapse of several years, during which he had 
grown up to manhood, had passed through the 
tit^eal of pleasures and tumultuous passions, and 
had felt the influence of other charms. Miss 



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NEWSTEAD ABBEY, 885 

Ghawarth, too, had become a wife and a mother 
and he dined at Annesley Hall at the invitation 
of her hosband. He thus met the object of his 
early idolatry in the very scene of his tender de- 
votions, which, as he says, her smiles had once 
made a heaven to him. The scene was but lit- 
tle changed. He was in the very chamber where 
he had so often listened entranced to the witchery 
of her voice ; there were the same instruments 
and music ; there lay her flower-garden beneath 
the window, and the walks through which he had 
wandered with her in the intoxication of youth- 
ful love. Can we wonder that amidst the tender 
recollections which every object around him was 
calculated to awaken, the fond passion of his boy- 
hood should rush back in full current to his heart ? 
He was himself surprised at this sudden revulsion 
of his feelings, but he had acquired self-posses- 
sion and could command them. His firmness, 
however, was doomed to imdergo a Airther trial. 
While seated by the object of his secret devo- 
tions, with all these recollections throbbing in 
his bosom her in&nt daughter was brought into 
the room. At sight of the child he started ; it 
dispelled the last lingerings of his dream, and 
he afterwards confessed, that to repress his emo- 
tion at the moment, was the severest part of his 
taskl * 

The conflict of feelings that raged within his 
bosom throughout this fond and tender, yet pain- 
ful and embarrassing visit, are touchingly depicted 
in lines which he wrote immediately afterwards^ 
and which, though not addressed to her by name. 

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886 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

aM «Wdead J intended for the eye and die bent 
of dM &ir lady, of Anneslej: 

^ Well ! thou art happj, and I fed 
That I should thus be happy too ; 
7or still TCLj heart regards thj weal 
Waimlj, as it was wont to do. 

** Thy husband *s blest — and *t will impart 
Some pangs to view his happier lot: 
But let them pass — Oh! how mj heart 
Weald hate him, if he loved thee not! 

•* When late I saw thy fevorite child 

I thought my jealous heart would break; 
But when the unconscious in&nt amiled, 
I kissed it for its mother's sake. 

^I kiss*d it, and repressed my sighs 
VsB fiither in its fitce to see; 
But then it had its mother's eyes, 
And they were all to love and me. 

^ Mary, adieu ! I must away : 

While thou art blest I *11 not repine; 
Bat near thee I can never stay: 
My heart would soon again be thine. 

^I deem'd that time, I deem'd that pride 
Had quench'd at length my boyish flaiat; 
Hor knew, till seated by thy side, 
My heart in all, save love, the c 



''Tetlwascalm: I knew the time 

My breast would thrill before thy look; 
]^at now to tremble were a crime -^ 
We met, and not a nerve was shooik. 

"I taw thee gaze upon my fi^e, 

Yet meet with no confusion there: 
One only feeling couldst thou trace; 
The sullen calmness of despair. 



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NEWSTEAD ABBEY. S87 

**l.way! away! my early dream 
Remembrance never must awake: 
Oh I where is Lethe^s fabled stream? 
My foolish heart, be still, or breakr'* 

The reyival of this earlj passion, aad tJie mel- 
ancholy associations which it spread over those 
scenes in the neighborhood of Newstead, which 
wofdd necessarily be the places of his frequent 
resort while in England, are alluded to by him 
as a principal cause of his frst departure for the 
Continent: — 

** When man expelled Ax>m Eden's bowen 

A moment lingered near the gate, 

Each scene recalled the vanished hours, 

And bade him cttrse his fUture &te. 

» ** But wandering on through distant dimes, 
He learnt to bear his load of grief; 
Just gave a sigh to other times, 
«• And found in busier scenes relied 

** Thus Maiy must it be with me. 

And I must view thy charms no more \ 
For, while I linger near to thee, 
I sigh for all I knew before.*' 

It was in the subsequent June that he set off 
on his pilgrimage by sea and land, whidi was to 
become the theme of his immortal poem. That 
the image of Mary Chaworth, as he saw and 
loved her in the days of his boyhood, followed 
him to the very shore, is shown in the glowing 
stanzas addressed to her on the eve of embarka« 
tion: — 

''"T is done -« and shivering in the gale 
The bark imforis her anowy tafl; 



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888 CRAYON MISCELLANT. 

>^ And whistling o'er the bending mart, 
Loud nngs on high the fresh'ning bbist; 
And I must fix>m this land be gone, 
Becaoae I cannot love but one. 

'^ And I will CRM8 the whitening foam. 
And I will seek a foreign home; 
TOl I foiget a false fiiir fiice, 
I ne*er shall find a resting places 
Mj own daik thoughts I cannot shun, » 

But ever love, and love but one. 

** To think of eveiy earlj scene, 
Of what we are, and what we 've been, 
Would whelm some softer hearts with woe — 
But mine, alas ! has stood the blow ; 
Yet still beats on as it begun, 
And never truly loves but one. 

^ And who that dear loved one may be 
Is not for vulgar eyes to see, 
And why that early love was crossed. 
Thou know'st the best, I feel the mott; 
But few that dwell beneath the sun 
Have loved so long, and loved but one. 

"I*ve tried another's fetters too. 
With charms, perchance, as fair to view; 
And I would fstin have loved as well. 
But some unconquerable spell 
Forbade my bleeding breast to own 
A kindred care for aught but one. 

** 'T would soothe to take one lingering view 
And bless thee in my last adieu; 
Yet wish I not those eyes to weep 
For him who wanders o*er the deep ; 
His home, his hope, his youth are gone, 
Yet still he loves and loves but one.'* 

The painful interview at Anneslej Hall whioh 
Teviyed with such intenseness his earlj passion. 



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NEWSTEAD ABBEY. 889 

remained stamped npon his memory with singa- 
lar force, and seems to have sarvived all his 
" wandering through distant dimes," to which he 
trusted as an oblivious antidote. Upwards of 
two years after that event, when, having made 
his famous pilgrimage, he was once more an in- 
mate of Newstead Abbey, his vicinity to Annes- 
ley Hall brought the whole scene vividly before 
him, and he thus recalls it in a poetic epistle to a 
fiiend : — 

" I Ve seen raj bride another^s bride, — 
Have seen her seated by his side, — 
Have seen the infant which she bore. 
Wear the sweet snule the mother wore, 
When flhe and I in youth have smiled 
As fond and faultless as her child : — 
Have seen her eyes, in cold disdain. 
Ask if I felt no secret pain. 

^ And I have acted well my part, 
And made my cheek belie my heart, 
Betum^d the freezing glance she gave, * 
Yet felt the while ikcU woman^s slave; — 
Have kiss'd, as if without design. 
The babe which ought to have been mine. 
And show'd, alas ! in each caress, 
Time had not made me love the less." 

^ It was about the time," says Moore in his Life 
of Lord Byron, " when he was thus bitterly feel- 
ing and expressing the blight which his heart had 
suffered from a real object of affection, that his 
poems on an imaginary one, * Thyrza,' were 
-written." He was at the same time grieving 
over the loss of several of his earliest and dearest 
Mends, the companions of his joyous schoolboy 



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390 aUTON MiaCELLANT, 

honn. To recnr to ihe beautdM langaage of 
Moore, who wrkea with the kmdred and kindling 
9fmipJSbas» of a trae poet: " All these reoolleo- 
. iioDS of the yoimg and the dead mingled them^ 
selves in his mind with the image of her who^ 
though Hving, was, for him, as mvxh lost as thej, 
and diffused that general feeling of sadness and 
fondness through his sonl, which found a vent in 
these poems* • • . . It was the hl^iding of the 
two affections in his memory and imagination, that 
gave hirth to an ideal object combining the best 
features of both, and drew fix>m him those saddest 
and tenderest of love-poems, in which we find all 
the depth and intensity of real feeling, touched 
over with such a light as no reality ever wore." 

An early, innocent, and unfortunate passion, 
however fruitful of pain it may be to the man, is 
a lasting advantage to the poet. It is a well of 
sweet and bitter fancies ; of refined and gentle 
sentipients ; of elevated and ennobling thoughts ; 
shut up in the deep recesses of the heart, keep- 
ing it green amidst the withering blights of the . 
world, and, by its casual gushings and overflow- 
ings, recalling at times all the freshness, and in- 
nocence, and enthusiasm of youthftd days. Lord 
Byroa was conscious of this efiect, and purposely 
cherished and brooded over the remembrance of 
hk» early passion, and of all the scenes of An- 
nesley Hail connected with it It was this remem^ 
brance that attuned his mind to some of its moet 
elevated and virtuous strains, and shed an inez« 
pressible grace and pathos over his best'prodwy 
tions. 



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NEWSTEAD ASSET. 89t 

Being thus pat apon the traoes of this little 
love-story, I cannot refrain from threading them 
OQty as they appear from time to time in yarious 
passages g£ Lord Byron's works. Daring his 
subseqaent rambles in the East, when time and 
distance had sofltened away his << early romance " 
almost into the remembrance of a pleasing and 
tender dream, he received accounts of the object 
of it, which represented her, still in her paternal 
HaU, among her native bowers of Annesley, sor* 
rounded by a blooming and beautiful famUy, yet 
a prey to secret and withering melancholy : — 

" In her home, 
A thousand leagues from his, — her natire home» 
She dwelt, begirt with growing infiuKy, 
Daughters and sons of beauty, but — behold! 
Upon her &ce there was the tint of grief, 
The settled shadow of an inward strife, 
And an unquiet drooping of the eye, 
As if its Uds were charged vnth unsked tears.** 

For an instant the buried tenderness of early 
youth, and the fluttering hopes which accompanied 
it, seemed to have revived in his bosom, and the 
idea to have flashed upon his mind that his image 
might be connected with her secret woes; but 
he rejected the thought almost as soon as formed. 

" What could her grief be ? — she had all she loved, 
And he who had so loved her was not there 
To trouble with bad hopes, or evil wish. 
Or iU repress'd affection, her pure thoughts. 
What could her grief be ? — she had loved him not, 
Nor given him cause to deem himself beloved, 
Nor could he be a part of that which prey'd 
Upon her mind — a spectre of the past." 



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892 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

The cause of her grief was a matter of rural 
eomment in the neighborhood of Newstead and 
Annesley. It was disconnected from all idea of 
Lord Byron, but attributed to the hai-sh and ca- 
pricious conduct of one to whose kindness and 
affection she had a sacred claim. The domestic 
Borrows, which had long preyed in secret on her 
heart, at length affected her intellect, and the 
" bright morning star of Annesley " was eclipsed 
forever. 

'* The lady of his love, — oh ! she was changed 
As by the sickness of the soul ; her mind 
Had wandered from its dwelling, and her eyes, 
They had not their own lustre, but the look 
Which is not of the earth ; she wais become 
The queen of a fantastic realm: but her thoughts 
Were combinations of disjointed things; 
And forms impalpable and unperceived 
Of others' sight, familiar were to hers. 
And this the world calls frenzy." 

Notwithstanding lapse of time, change of place, 
and a succession of splendid and spirit-stirring 
scenes in various countries, the quiet and ^gentle 
scene of his boyish love seems to have held a 
magic sway over the recollections of Lord Byron, 
and the image of Mary Chaworth to have unex- 
pectedly obtruded itself upon his mind like some 
supernatural visitation. Such was the fact on the 
occasion of his marriage with Miss Milbanke ; 
Annesley Hall and all its fond associations floated 
like a vision before his thoughts, even when at the 
altar, and on the point of pronouncing the nup* 
tial vows. The circumstance is related by him 



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NEWaTEAD ABBEY. 898 

with a force and feeling that persuade ns of its 
truth. 

« A c]iange came o*er the spirit of my dream. 
The wanderer was returned. — I saw him stand 
Before an altar — with a gentle bride ; 
Her &ce was fair, but was not that which made 
The star-light of his boyhood ; — as he stood 
Even at the altar, o'er his brow there came 
The selfsame aspect, and the quivering shock 
That in the antique oratory shook 
His bosom in its solitude; and then — 
As ia that hour — a moment o*er his face 
The tablet of unutterable thoughts 
Was traced, — and then it fiided as it came, 
And he stood calm and quiet, and he spoke 
The fitting vows, but heard not his own words,- 
And all things reel'd around him: he could see 
Not that which was, nor that which should have beea — 
But the old mansion, and the accustomed hall. 
And the remembered chambers, and the place, 
The day, the hour, the sunshine, and the shade, 
All things pertaining to that place and hour, 
And her who was his destiny, came back. 
And thrust themselves between him and the light: 
What business had they there at such a time ? ** 

The history of Lord Byron's union is too well 
known to need narration. The errors, and humil- 
iations, and heart-burnings that followed upon it, 
gave additional effect to the remembrance of his 
early passion, and tormented him with the idea, 
that^ had he been successful in his suit to the 
lovely heiress of Annesley, they might both have 
shared a happier destiny. In one of his manu- 
scripts, written long after his marriage, having 
accidentally mentioned Miss Chaworth as ^My 
&L A. C.,'' — '^Alas!" exclaims he, with a sudden 



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894 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

burst of feeHng, ^ why do I say 991^? Our unioD 
would hftve healed feuds in which blood had been 
shed by our fathers ; it would have joined lands 
broad and rich ; it would have joined at least one 
heart, and two persons not ill-matched in years — 
and — and — and — what has been the result ? " 
But enough of Annesley Hall and the poeti- 
cal themes connected with it I felt as if I 
could linger for hours about its ruined oratory, 
and silent haU, and neglected garden, and spin 
reveries and dream dreams, imtil all became an 
ideal world around me. The day, however, was 
&st declining, and the shadows of evening throw- 
ing deeper shades of melancholy about the place. 
Taking our leave of the worthy old hoosekeqier, 
therefore, with a smaU compensation and many 
thanks for her civilities, we mounted our horses and 
pursued our way back to Newstead Abbey. 




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THE LAKE. 

* Betm llw manrioii laj a lodd lak*, 

Broad m transparent, deep, and freshly fed 

By a riTer, which its softened iray did take 
In cnrrents through the calmer water spread 

Around : the wild fowl nestled in the brake 
And sedges, brooding in their Uqnid bed : 

The woods sloped downward to its brink, and stood 

With their green feces fixed upon the ilood.'' 

pnCH is Lord Byron's description of one 
of a series of beautiful sheets of water, 
formed in old times bj the monks by 
damming up the course of a small river. Here 
he used daily to enjoy his &vorite recreations of 
swimming and sailing. The '< wicked old Lord/' 
in his sdieme of rural devastationy had cut down 
all the woods that once fringed the lake ; Lord 
Byron, on coming of age, endeavored to restore 
them, and a beautiful young wood, planted by 
him, now sweeps up from the water's edge, and 
clothes the hill-side opposite to the Abbey. To 
this woody no(^ Gobnel Wildmsm has given the 
appropriate title of « The Poef s Comer." 

The lake has inherited its share of the tradi« 
tions and &bles connected with everything in and 
about the Abbey. It was a petty Mediterranean 
sea on whidi the ^wicked old Lord" used to 



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396 CRAYON MISCELLANY, 

gratify his nautical tastes and liumors. He had 
his mimic castles and fortresses along its shores, 
and his mimic fleets upon its waters, and used to 
get up mimic sea-fights. The remains of his 
petty fortifications still awaken the curious in- 
quiries of visitors. In one of his vagaries, he 
caused a large vessel to be brought on wheels 
from the sea-coast and launched in the lake. The 
country people were surprised to see a ship thus 
sailing over dry land. They called to mind a 
saying of Mother Shipton, the &mous prophet 
of the vulgar, that whenever a ship freighted 
with ling should cross Sherwood Forest, New- 
stead would pass out of the Byron family. The 
country people, who detested the old Lord, were 
anxious to verify the prophecy. Ling, in the di- 
alect of Nottingham, is the name for heather; 
with this plant they heaped the fated bark as it 
passed, so that it arrived ftdl freighted at New- 
stead. 

The most important stories about the lake, how- 
ever, relate to the treasures that are supposed to 
lie buried in its bosom. These may have taken 
their origin in a feet which actually occurred. 
There was one time fished up fh)m the deep part 
of the lake a great eagle of molten brass, with 
expanded wings, standing on a pedestal or perch 
of the same metal. It had doubtless served as a 
stand or reading-desk, in the Abbey chapel, to 
hold a folio Bible or missaL 

The sacred relic was sent to a brazier to be 
cleaned. As he was at work upon it, he discov- 
ered that the pedestal was hollow and composed 

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JiEXraTJSAD ABBEY. 897 

of several pieces. Unscrewing these, he drew 
forth a number of parchment deeds and grants 
appertaining to the Abbey, and bearing the seals 
of Edward m. and Henry "VUL, which had 
thus been concealed, and ultimately sunk in the 
lake by the friars, to substantiate their right and 
title to these domains at some future day. 

One of the parchment scrolls thus discovered 
throws rather an awkward light upon the kind 
of life led by the friars of Newstead. It is an 
indulgence granted to them for a certain number 
of months, in which plenary pardon is assured in 
advance for all kinds of crimes, among which 
several of the most gross and sensual are specifi- 
cally mentioned, and the weaknesses of the fiesh 
to which they were prone. 

After inspecting these testimonials of monkish 
life, in the regions of Sherwood Forest, we cease 
to wonder at the virtuous indignation of Robin 
Hood and his outlaw crew, at the sleek sensualists 
of the cloister : — 

** I never hurt the husbandman, 
That use to till the ground, 
Kor spill their blood that range the wood 
To follow hawk and hound. 

•* My chiefest spite to clergy is, 
Who in these days bear sway ; 
With friars and monks with their fine spunks, 
I make my chiefest prey." 

OiJ> Ballad of Robih Hood. 

The brazen eagle has been transferred to the 
parochial and coUegiate church of Southall, about 
twenty miles from Newstead, where it may stil) 



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89S CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

be seen in the centre of the chaocel» suppcMrtii^ 
88 of jcMre, a ponderous Bible. As to the docu* 
ments it ccmtalned, they are careftdly treasured 
up bj Colonel Wildman amcnig his olher deeds 
and papers, in an iron chest secured bj a patent 
lock (^ nine bolts, almost equal to a magic spelL 
The fishing up of this brasen relic, as I have 
alread J hinted, has ^ven rise to the tales of treas- 
ure lying at the bottom <if the lake, thrown in 
there by the mcmks when they abandoned the 
Abbey. The favorite story is, that there is a 
great iron dbest there filled with gold and jewels, 
and chalices and crucifixes ; nay, that it has been 
seen, when the water of ihe lake was unusually 
low. There were large iron rings at each end, 
but aU attempts to move it were ineffectual, 
either the gold it contained, was too ponderous, 
or, what is more probable, it was secured by one 
of those ma^c spells usually laid upon hidden 
treasure. It remains, therefore, at the bott(Nn <^ 
the lake to this day, and, it is to be hoped, may 
one day or other be discovered by the present 
worthy proprietor. 




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ROBIN HOOD AND SHERWOOD FOERST. 

JHILE at Newstead Abbey I took gieat 
delight in riding and rambling about 
the neighborhood, studying out the traces 
of merry Sherwood Forest, and visiting the 
haunts of Bobin Hood. . The relics of the old for- 
est are few and scattered, but as to the bold out- 
law who once held a kind of freebooting sway 
over it, there is scarce a hill or dale, a cliff or 
cavern, a well or fountain, in this part of the 
country, that is not connected with his memory. 
The very names of some of the tenants on the 
Newstead estate, such as Beardall and Hardstaff, 
sound as if they may have been borne in old times 
by some of the stalwart fellows of the outlaw 

gang- 
One of the earliest books that captivated my 
&ncy when a child, was a collection of Bobin 
Hood ballads, <' adorned with cuts," which I 
bought of an old Scotch pedlar, at the cost of all 
my holiday money. How I devoured its pages, 
and gazed upon its uncouth wood-cuts 1 For a 
time my mind was filled with picturings of 
<* merry Sherwood," and the exploits and revel- 
ling of the bold foresters ; and Bobin Hood, 

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400 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

Little John, Friar Tack, and their doughty com- 
peers, were my heroes of romance. 

These early feelings were in some degree re- 
vived when I found myself in the very heart of 
the far-famed forest, and, as I said before, I took 
a kind of schoolboy delight in hunting up all 
traces of old Sherwood and its sylvan chivalry. 
One of the first of my antiquarian rambles was 
on horseback, in company with Colonel Wildman 
and his lady, who undertook to guide me to some 
of the mouldering monuments of the forest One 
of these stands in front of the very gate of New- 
Btead Park, and is known throughout the country 
by the name of " The Pilgrim Oak." It is a 
venerable tree, of great size, overshadowing a 
wide area of the road. Under its shade the rus- 
tics of the neighboriiood have been accustomed to 
assemble on certain holidays, and celebrate their 
rural festivals. This custom had been handed 
down from father to son for several generations, 
until the oak had acquired a kind of sacred char- 
acter. 

The **old Lord Byron,'* however, in whose 
eyes nothing was sacred, when he laid his des- 
olating hand on the groves and forests of New- 
stead, doomed likewise this traditional tree to the 
axe. Fortunately the good people of Nottingham 
heard of the danger of their favorite oak, and 
hastened to ransom it from destruction. They 
afterwards made a present of it to the poet, whtti 
he came to the estate, and the Pilgrim Oak ia 
likely to continue a rural gathering-place for many 
ooming generations. 



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NMWaTEAB ABBET, tOt 

From tliis magnifioent and time-honorod tree 
we centinned on our sylvan research, in quest of 
anotber oak, of more ancient date and less foor- 
ishi^ condition. A ride of two or three miles, 
the latter part across open wastes, once dothed 
with forest, now bare and dieerless, brought as to 
the tree in qaestion. It was the Oak of Ravens- 
bead, one (ji the last survivors of old Sherwood, 
and which had evidentlj once held a high head 
in the forest ; it was now a mere wreck, crazed 
by time, and blasted by lightning, and standing 
alone on a naked waste, like a ruined column in 
a desert. 

** The scenes are desert now, and bare, 
Where flourished once a forest flur, 
When these waste glens with copse were lined, 
And peopled with the hart and hind. 
Ton lonely oak, would he could tell 
The changes of his parent dell, 
Since he, so gray and stubborn now, 
Waved in each breeze a sapling bough. 
Would he could tell how deep the shade 
A thousand mingled branches made. 
Here in my shade, methinks he *d say, 
The mighty stag at noontide lay. 
While doe, and roe, and red-deer good, 
Have bounded by through gay gieen-wood.*' 

At no great distance from Ravenshead Oak is 
a small cave which goes by the name of Bobin 
Hood's Stable. It is in the breast (^ a hill, 
scooped out of brown freestone, with rude at- 
tempts at oolunms and arches. Within are two 
niches, which served, it is said, as stalls for the 
bold outlaw's hwses. To this retreat he retired 
when hotly pursued by the law, for tlie plaoe waa 

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402 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

a secret even fix>m his band. The cave is over- 
shadowed by an oak and alder, and is hardly dis- 
ooyerable even at the present day ; but when the 
country was oyerrun with forest, it must have 
been completely concealed. 

There was an agreeable wildness and loneliness 
In a great part of our ride. Our devious road 
wound down, at one time, among rocky dells by 
wandering streams, and lonely pools, haunted by 
shy water-fowl. We passed through a skirt of 
woodland, of more modem planting, but consid- 
ered a legitimate offspring of the ancient forest, 
and commonly called Jock of Sherwood. In rid- 
ing through these quietj solitary scenes, the par- 
tridge and pheasant would now and then burst 
upon the wing, and the hare scud away before us. 

Another of these rambling rides in quest of 
popular antiquities was to a chain of rocky clifis, 
called the Kirkby Crags, which skirt the Robin 
Hood hills. Here, leaving my horse at the foot 
of the crags, I scaled their rugged sides, and 
seated myself in a niche of the rocks, called 
Robin Hood's chair. It commands a wide pros- 
pect over the valley of Newstead, and here the 
bold outlaw is said to have taken his seat, and 
kept a look-out upon the roads below, watching 
for merchants, and bishops, and other wealthy 
travellers, upon whom to pounce down, like an 
eagle from his eyrie. 

Descending from the cMs and remounting my 
horse, a ride of a mile or two further along a 
narrow '< robber path," as it was called, which 
wound up into the hills between perpendiculiU 



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NEWaTEAD ABBEY. 408 

rocks, led to an artificial cavern cut in the face 
of a clifi^, with a door and window wrought 
Uirough the living stone. This bears the name 
of Friar Tuck's cell, or hermitage, where, accord- 
ing to tradition, that jovial anchorite used to 
make good cheer and boisterous revel with his 
freebooting comrades. 

Such were some of the vestiges of old Sher- 
wood and its renowned '^ yeomandrie,'' which I 
visited in the neighborhood of Newstead. The 
worthy dergjrman who officiated as chaplain at 
the Abbey, seeing my zeal in the cause, informed 
me of a considerable tract of the ancient forest, 
still in existence about ten miles distant There 
were many fine old oaks in it, he said, that had 
stood for centuries, but were now shattered and 
^ stag-headed," that is to say, their upper branches 
were bare, and blasted, imd straggling out like 
the antlers of a deer. Their trunks, too, were 
hoUow, and full of crows and jackdaws, who made 
them their nestling-places. He occasionally rode 
over to the forest in the long summer evenings, 
and pleased himself with loitering in the twilight 
about the green alleys and under the venerable 
trees. 

The description given by the chaplain made 
me anxious to visit this remnant of old Sherwood, 
and he kindly offered to be my guide and com- 
panion. We accordingly sallied forth one morn- 
ing, on horseback, on this sylvan expedition. Our 
ride took us through a part of the country where 
Ejng John had once held a hunting-seat, the 
ruins of which are still to be seen. At that 



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Mi CRAYON MIBCELLJLNT. 

time the whole neighborhood was an open royal 
fiirest, or Frank chase, as it was termed; for 
King John was an enemy to parks and warrens, 
and oth^ enclosures, by whidi game was fenced 
in for the private benefit and recreation oi the 
nobles and the clergy. 

HerCi on the brow of a gentle hill, command- 
ing an extensive proe^ect of what had once been 
forest, stood another of those monumental trees, 
which, to my mind, gave a peculiar interest to 
this neighborhood. It was the Parliament Oak, 
so called in memory of an assemblage of the 
kind held by King John beneath its shade. The 
lapse of upwards of six centuries had reduced 
this once mighty tree to a mere crumbling frag- 
ment, yet, like a gigantic torso in ancient statuary, 
the grandeur of the mutilated trunk gave evi- 
dence of what it had been in the days of its 
glory. In contemplating its mouldering remains, 
the &ncy busied itself in calling up the scene 
that must have been presented beneath its shade, 
when this sunny hill swarmed with the pageantry 
of a warlike and hunting court; when silken 
pavilions and warrior-tents decked its crest, and 
royal standards, and baronial banners, and knightly 
pennons rolled out to the breeze ; when (relates 
and courtiers, and steel-clad chivalry thronged 
round the person of the monardbi, while at a dis- 
tance loitered the foresters in green, and all the 
rural and hunting train that waited upon his syl- 
van sports. 

"A thonsand vassals mustered round 
With borsc, and hawk, and horn, and hound} 



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NEWBTEAD ABBEY. ¥A 

And through the brake the rangers Btalk, 
And falconers hold the ready hawk; 
And foresters in green-wood trim 
Lead in the leash the greyhound grim.** 

Such was the phantasmagoria that presented 
itself for a moment to my imagination, peopling 
the silent place before me with empty shadows 
of the past. The reverie however was transient ; 
king, courtier, and steel-clad warrior, and forester 
in green, with horn, and hawk, and hound,' all 
faded again into oblivion, and I awoke to all that 
remained of this once stirring scene of human 
pomp and power — a mouldering oak, and a tra- 
, dition. 

** We are such stuff as dreams are made of I ** 

A ride of a few miles further brought us at 
length among the venerable and classic shades of 
Sherwood. Here I was delighted to find myself 
in a genuine wild wood, of primitive and natural 
growth, so rarely to be met with in this thickly 
peopled and highly cultivated country. It re- 
minded me of the aboriginal forests of my native 
land. I rode through natural alleys and green- 
wood groves, carpeted with grass and shaded by 
lofty and beautiful birches. What most inter- 
ested me, however, was to behold around me the 
mighty trunks of veteran oaks, old monumental 
trees, the patriarchs of Sherwood Forest. They 
were shattered, hollow, and moss-grown, it is true, 
and their " leafy honors " were nearly departed ; 
but like mouldering .towers they were noble and 
picturesque in their decay, and gave evidence, 
even in their ruins, of their ancient grandeur. 



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406 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

As I gazed about me upon these vestiges of 
once "Merrie Sherwood,** the picturings of my 
boyish fancy began to rise in my mind, and Robin 
Hood and his men to stand before me. 

''He clothed himself in scarlet then. 
His men were all m green $ 
A finer show throughout the worid 
In no place could be seen. 

** Grood lord ! it was a gallant sight 
To see them all in a row; 
With evexy man a good broad-isword, 
And eke a good yew bow.** 

The horn of Robin Hood again seemed to re* 
sound through the forest. I saw this sylvan 
chivaLry, half huntsmen, half freebooters, troop- 
ing across the distant glades, or feasting and 
revelling beneath the trees ; I was going on to 
embody in this way all the ballad scenes that 
had delighted me when a boy, when the distant 
sound of a wood-cutter's axe roused me from 
my day-dream. 

The boding apprehensions which it awakened 
were too soon verified. I had not ridden much 
further, when I came to an open space where the 
work of destruction was going on. Around me 
lay the prostrate trunks of venerable oaks, once 
the towering and magnificent lords of the forest, 
and a number of wood-cutters were heusking and 
hewing at another gigantic tree, just tottering to 
ito fall. 

Alas ! for old Sherwood Forest : it had fallen 
into the possession of a noble agriculturist ; a 



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NEWSTEAD ABBEY. 407 

> 
modem utilitarian, who had no feeling for poetry 
or forest scenery. In a little while and this 
glorious woodland will be laid low; its green 
glades be tamed into sheep-walks ; its legendary 
bowers supplanted by turnip-fields, and ** Merrie 
Sherwood" will exist but in ballad and tradi- 
tion. 

" O for the poetical superstitions," thought I, 
** of the olden time ! that shed a sanctity over 
every grove ; that gave to each tree its tutelar 
genius or nymph, and threatened disaster to all 
who should molest the hamadryads in their leafy 
abodes. Alas I for the sordid propensities of 
modern days, when everything is coined into gold, 
and this once holiday planet of ours is turned 
into a mere * working-day world.' " 

My cobweb fancies put to flight, and my feel- 
ings out of tune, I left the forest in a far different 
mood from that in which I had entered it, and 
rode silently along until, on reaching the summit 
of a gentle eminence, the chime of evening bells 
came on the breeze across the heath from a dis- 
tant village. 

I paused to listen. 

" They are merely the evening bells of Mans- 
field," said my companion. 

"Of Mansfield!" Here was another of the 
legendary names of this storied neighborhood, 
that called up early and pleasant associations. 
The famous old ballad of the King and the Miller 
of Mansfield came at pnce to mind, and the chime 
of the bells put me again in good humor. 

A little further on, and we were again on the 



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408 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

r 

tnxxB of Bobin Hood. Here was FoDBtain 
Dale, where he had his enoounter with that stal- 
wart shaveUng Friar Tuck, who was a kind of 
saint militant, altetnatelj wearing the casque and. 
the cowl : — 

'* The cortal fiyar kept Fountain dale 
Seven long years and more, 
There was neither lord, knight or earl 
Could make him yield before." 

The moat is still shown which is said to have 
surrounded the strong - hold of this jovial and 
fighting fiiar ; and the place where he and Robin 
Hood had their sturdy trial of strength and 
prowess, in the memorable conflict which lasted 

** From ten o'clock that very day 
Until four in the afternoon," 

and ended in the treaty of fellowship. As to 
the hardy feats, both of sword and trench^, per- 
formed by this "curtal fiyar," behold are they 
not recorded at length in the ancient baUads^ and 
in tfie magic pages of " Ivanhoe " ? 

The evening was fast coming on, and the twi- 
light thickening, as we rode through these haunts 
&mous in outlaw story. A melancholy seemed 
to gather over the landscape as we proceeded, for 
our course lay by shadowy woods, and across 
naked heaths, and along lonely roads, marked by 
some of those sinbter names by which the coun- 
try people in England are apt to make dreary 
places still more dreary. The horrors of 
^ Thieves' Wood,*' and the « Murderers' Stone," 
«nd ^the Hag Nook," had all to be encountered 



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NEWBTEAD ABBEY. 



409 



in the gathcriDg gloom of evening, and threatened 
to beset our path with more than mortal periL 
Happily, however, we passed these ominous places 
unharmed, and arrived in safety at the portal of 
Newstead Abbey, highly satisfied with our green- 
wood foray. 




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THE ROOK CELL. 

|N the coarse of my sojonm at the Ab- 
bey I changed my quarters fit>m the 
magnificent old state apartment hamited 
by Sir John Byron the Little, to another in a 
remote comer of the ancient edifice, immedi- 
ately adjoining the rained chapel. It possessed 
still more interest in my eyes, from having been 
the sleeping apartment of Lord Byron daring 
his residence at the Abbey. The ^mitore re- 
mained the same. Here was the bed in which 
he slept, and which he had brought with him 
from. college; its gilded posts, surmounted by 
coronets, giving evidence of his aristocratical feel- 
ings. Here was likewise his college sofa; and 
about the walls were the portraits of his favorite 
butler, old Joe Murray, of his fency acquaintance, 
Jackson the pugilist, together with pictures of 
Harrow School and the College at Cambridge, at 
which he was educated. 

The bedchamber goes by tbe name of the Book 
Cell, from its vicinity to the Rookery, which, since 
time immemorial, has maintained possession of a 
solemn grove adjacent to the chapel. Thb ven- 
erable community afforded me much food for spec- 
ulation during my residence in this apartment 



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NEWaTEAD ABBEY. 411 

In the morning I used to hear them gradually 
waking and seeming to caU each other up. After 
a time, the whole fraternity would be in a flutter ; 
some balancing and swinging on the tree-tops, 
others perched on the pinnacle of the Abbey 
church, or wheeling and hovering about in the 
air, and the ruined walls would reverberate with 
their incessant cawings. In this way they would 
linger about the rookery and its vicinity for the 
early part of the morning, when, having appar- 
ently mustered all their forces, called over the roll, 
and determined upon their line of march, they one 
and all would sail off in a long straggling flight 
to maraud the distant fields. They would forage 
the country for miles, and remain absent all day, 
excepting now and then a scout would come home, 
as if to see that all was welL Towards night the 
whole host might be seen, like a dark cloud in the 
distance, winging their way homeward. They 
came, as it were, with whoop and halloo, wheel- 
ing high in the air above the Abbey, making va- 
rious evolutions before they alighted, and then 
keeping up an incessant cawing in the tree-tops, 
until they gradually fell asleep. 

It is remarked at the Abbey, that the rooks, 
though they sally forth on forays throughout the 
week, yet keep about the venerable edifice on 
Sundays, as if they had inherited a reverence for 
the day, from their ancient confreres, the monks. 
Indeed, a believer in the metempsychosis might 
easily imagine these Gk>thic-looking birds to be 
the embodied souls of the ancient friars still 
hovering about their sanctified abode. 



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412 CRA70H MI8CMLANY. 

I dislike to distorb any point of popular and 
poetic &ith, and was loath, therefore, to question 
the authenticity of this mysterious reverence fof 
the Sabbath, on the part of the Newstead rooks ; 
but certainly in the course of my sojourn in the 
Rook Cell I detected them in a flagrant outbreak 
and foray on a bright Sunday morning. 

Beside the occasional clamor of the rookery, this 
remote apartment was often greeted with sounds 
of a different kind, from the neighboring ruins. 
The great lancet window in front of the chapel 
adjoins the very wall of the chamber ; and the 
mysterious sounds from it at night have been 
well described by Lord Byron : 

" Now loud, now frantic, 
The gale sweeps through its fretwork, aad oft sings 
The owl his anthem, when the silent quire 
Lie with their hallelujahs quenched like fire. 

« But on the noontide of the moon, and when 

The wind is winged from one point of heaven. 
There moans a strange unearthly sound, whidi theo 

Is musical — a dying accent driven 
Through the huge arch, which soars and sinks again* 

Some deem it but the distant echo given 
Back to the night-wind by the waterfall, 

And harmonized by the old choral wall. 

*< Others, that some original shape or form. 

Shaped by decay perchance, hath given the power 
To this gray ruin, with a voice to charm. 

Sad, but serene, it sweeps o*er tree or tower; 
The cause 1 know not, nor can solve; but such 
The fact: — I Ve heard it, — once perhaps too much.*' 

Never was a traveller in quest of the romanft) 
in greater luck. I had, in sooth, got lodged m 



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HEWBTEAD ABBEY. 413 

another haunted apartment of the Abbey ; for 
in this chamber Lord Byron declared he had 
more than once been harassed at midnight by a 
mysterious visitor. A black shapeless form would 
sit cowering upon his bed, and after gazing at 
him for a time with glaring eyes, would roll off 
and disappear. The same uncouth apparition is 
said to have disturbed the slumbers of a newly 
married couple that once passed their honey-moon 
in this apartment. 

I would observe that the access to the Book 
Cell is by a spiral stone staircase leading up into 
it as into a turret, from the long shadowy corri- 
dor over the cloisters, one of the midnight walks 
of the goblin friar. Indeed, to the fancies en- 
gendered in his brain in this remote and lonely 
apartment, incorporated with the floating super- 
stitions of the Abbey, we are no doubt indebted 
for the spectral scene in ^ Don Juan." 

'* Then as the night was clear, though cold, he threw 
His chamber-door wide open — and went forth 

Into a gallery, of sombre hue, 
Long fumish'd with old pictures of great worth, 

Of knights and dames, heroic and chaste too, 
As doubtless should be people of high birth. 

** Ko sound except the echo of his sigh 

Or step ran sadly through that antique house, 
When suddenly he heard, or thought so, nigh, 

A Bupematinral agent — or a mouse. 
Whose little nibbling rustle will embarrass 
Most people, as it plays along the arras. 

" It was no mouse, but lo ! a monk, arrayed 
In oowl, and beads, and dusky garb, appeared 



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414 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

Now in the moonlight, and now lapsed in ahadd; 

With steps that trod as heavy, yet unheard; 
His garments only a slight murmur made ; 

He moved as shadowy as the sisters weird, 
But slowly ; and as he passed Juan by 
Glared, without pausing, on him a bnght eye. 

" Juan was petrified; he had heard a hint 

Of such a spirit in these halls of old. 
But thought, like most men, there was nothing in 't 

Beyond the rumor which such spots unfold, 
Coined from surviving superstition's mmt. 

Which passes ghosts in currency like gold, 
But rarely seen, like gold compared with paper. 
And did he see this? or was it a vapor? 

•* Once, twice, thrice passed, repass'd — the thing of air, 
Or earth beneath, or heaven, or t'other place; 

And Juan gazed upon it with a stare, 
Tet could not speak or move, but, on its base 

As stands a statue, stood: he felt his hah: 
Twine like a knot of snakes around his fkce; 

He tax*d his tongue for words, which were not granted . 

To ask the reverend person what he wanted. 

" The third time, after a still longer pause. 

The shadow pass'd away — but where ? the hall 

Was long, and thus far there was no great cause 
To think his vanishing unnatural : 

Doors there were many, through which, by the laws 
Of physics, bodies, whether short or tall, 

Might come or go ; but Juan could not state 

Through which the spectre seem*d to evaporate. 

'He stood, — how long he knew not, but it seem'd 
An age, — expectant, powerless, with his eyes 

Strained on the spot where first the figure gleam*d, 
Then by degrees recall'd his eneigies. 

And would have pass'd the whole ofiT as a dream. 
But could not wake ; he was, he did surmise, 

Waking already, and returned at length 

Back to his chamber, shorn of half his strength.*' 



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NEWBTEAD ABBEY, 415 

As I have already observed, it is difficult to 
determine whether Ix)rd Byron was really sub- 
ject to the superstitious &ncies which have been 
imputed to him, or whether he merely amused 
himself by giving currency to them among. his 
domestics and dependants. He certainly never 
scrupled to express a belief in supernatural visi- 
tations, both verbally and in his correspondence. 
K such were his foible, the Book Cell was an 
admirable place to engender these delusions. As 
I have lain awake at night, I have heard all 
kinds of mysterious and sighing sounds from the 
neighboring ruin. Distant footsteps, too, and the 
closing of doors in remote parts of the Abbey, 
would send hollow reverberations and echoes 
along the corridor and up the spiral staircase* 
Once, in &ct, I was roused hj a strange sound 
at the very door of my chamber. I threw it 
open, and a form << black and shapeless with glar- 
ing eyes ^ stood before me. It proved, however, 
neither ghost nor goblin, but my friend Boat- 
swain, the great Newfoundland dog, who had 
conceived a companionable liking fi>r me, and oc- 
casionally sought me in my apartment. To the 
hauntings of even such a visitant as honest Boat- 
swain may we attribute some of the marveUous 
stcnnes about the Goblin Friar. 



^ 



27 

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THE LITTLE WHITE LADY. 

|N the course of a moming^s ride with 
Colonel Wildman, about the Abbej lands, 
we found ourselves in one of the pret* 
tiest little wild-woods ima^able. The road to 
it had led us among rocky ravines overhung with 
thickets, and now wound through birchen dingles 
and among beautiful groves and clumps of ehns 
and beeches. A limpid rill of sparkling water, 
winding and doubling in perplexed mazes, crossed 
our path repeatedly, so as to give the wood the 
appearance of being watered by numerous rivu- 
lets. The solitary and romantic look of this 
piece of woodland, and the frequent recurrence 
of its mazy stream, put him in mind, Colonel 
Wildman said, of the little German fairy tale of 
Undine, in which is recorded the adventures of a 
knight who had married a water-nymph. As he 
rode with his bride through her native woods, 
every stream claimed her as a relative ; one was 
a brother, another an unde, another a cousin. 

We rode on, amusing ourselves with applying 
tins &nciM tale to the charming scenery around 
us, until we came to a lowly gray-stone farm- 
house, of ancient date, situated in a solitary glen. 



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NEWBTEAD ABBEY. 417 

on the margin of the hrodkj and overshadowed 
by venerable trees. It went by the name, as I 
was told, of the Weir Mill fiad*m-house. With 
this rustic mansion was connected a little tale of 
real life, some circamstances of which were re- 
lated to me on the spot, and others I collected in 
the course of my sojourn at the Abbey. 

Not long after Cbbnel Wildman had purchased 
the estate of Newstead, he made it a visit for the 
purpose of planning repairs and alterations. As 
he was rambling one evening, about dusk, in 
company with his architect, through this little 
piece of woodland, he was struck with its pecu- 
liar characteristics, and then, for the first time, 
compared it to the haunted wood of Undine. 
While he was making the remark, a small female 
figure, in white, flitted by without speaking a 
word, or indeed appearing to notice them. Her 
step was scarcely heard as she passed, and her 
form was indistinct in the twilight. 

"What a figure for a fairy or sprite!" ex- 
claimed Colonel Wildman. " How much a poet 
or a romance writer would make of such an ap- 
parition, at such a time and in such a place I " 

He began to congratulate himself upon having 
some elfin inhabitant for his haunted wood, when, 
on proceeding a few paces, he found a white frill 
lying in the path, which had evidently fiedlen 
from the figure that had just passed. 

« Well," said he, « after aU, this is neither 
sprite nor fairy, but a being of flesh and bk)od 
and muslin." 

Continuing on, he came to where the road 



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418 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

passed by an old mill in front of the A.bbey. 
The people of the mill were at the door. He 
paused and inquired whether any visitor had been 
at the Abbey, but was answered in the negative. 

" Has nobody passed by here ? " 

" No one, sir.** 

"That's strange! Surely I met a female in 
white, who must have passed along this path/' 

" Oh, sir, you mean the Little White Lady ; — 
oh, yes, she passed by here not long since." 

" The Little White Lady I And pray who is 
the Little White Lady ? " 

" Why, sir, that nobody knows ; she lives in 
the Weir Mill farm-house, down in the skirts of 
the wood. She comes to the Abbey every morn- 
ing, keeps about it all day, and goes away at 
night She speaks to nobody, and we are rather 
shy of her, for we don't know what to make of 
her." 

Colonel Wildman now concluded that it was 
some artist or amateur employed in making 
sketches of the Abbey, and thought no more 
about ^e matter. He went to London, and was 
absent for some time. In the interim, his sister, 
who was newly married, came with her husband 
to pass the honey-moon at the Abbey. The 
Little White Lady still resided in the Weir Mill 
farm-house, on the border of the haunted wood, 
and continued her visits daily to the Abbey. 
Her dress was always the same : a white gown 
with a little black spencer or bodice, and a white 
hat with a short veil that screened the upper part 
of her countenance. Her habits were shy, lonely, 



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NEW8TEAD ABBEY. 419 

and silent ; she spoke to no one^ and sought no 
companionship, excepting with the Newfoundland 
dog, that had belonged to Lord Byron. His 
friendship she secured bj caressing him and oc- 
casionally bringing him food, and he became the 
companion of her solitary walks. She avoided 
all strangers, and wandered about the retired 
parts of the garden ; sometimes sitting for hours 
by the tree on which Lord Byron had carved his 
name, or at the foot of the monument which he 
had erected among the ruins of the chapel. 
Sometimes ^she read, sometimes she wrote with a 
pencil on a small slate which she carried with 
her, but much of her time was passed in a kind 
of reverie. 

The people about the place gradually became 
accustomed to her, and suffered her to wander 
about unmolested ; their distrust of her subsided 
on discovering that most of her peculiar and 
lonely habits arose from the misfortune of being 
deaf and dumb.. Still she was regarded with 
some degree of shyness, for it was the common 
opinion that she was not exactly in her right 
mind. 

Colonel Wildman's sister was informed of aU 
these chrcumstances by the servants of the Abbey, 
among whom the Little White Lady was a theme 
of frequent discussion. The Abbey and its mo- 
nastic environs being haunted ground, it was nat- 
ural that a mysterious visitant of the kind, and 
one supposed to be under the influence of mental 
hallucination, should inspire awe in a person un- 
accustomed to the place. As Colonel Wildman'a 

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420 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

Bister ms one day waUdng along a broad terrace 
of the garden, she suddenly beheld the Little 
White Lady coming towards her, and, in the sur- 
prise and agitation of the moment, turned and 
ran into the house. 

. Day after day now elapsed, and nothing more 
was seen of tlds singular personage. Colonel 
Wildman at length arrived at the Abbey, and 
his sister mentioned to him her rencounter and 
fright in the garden. It brought to mind his own 
adventure with the Little White Lady in the 
wood of Undine, and he was surprised to find 
that she still continued her mysterious wanderings 
about the Abbey. The mystery was soon ex- 
plained. Immediately after his arrival he re- 
ceived a letter written in the most minute and 
delicate female hand, and in elegant and even 
eloquent language. It was firom the Little White 
Lady. She had noticed and been shocked by 
the abrupt retreat of Colonel Wildman's sister 
on seeing her in the garden-walk, and expressed 
her unhappiness at being an object of alarm to 
any of his &imily. She explained the motives 
of her frequent and long visits to the Abbey, 
which proved to be a singularly enthusiastic 
idolatry of the genius of Lord Byron, and a sol- 
itary and passionate delight in haunting the 
scenes he had once inhabited. She hinted at the 
infirmities which cut her off from all social 
communion with her fellow-beings, and at her 
situation in life as desolate and bereaved; and 
concluded by hoping that he would not deprive 
her of her only comfort, the permissic»i of visiting 

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NEWaTEAD ABBEY. 421 

the Abbey occasionally, and lingering aboat the 
walks and gardens. 

Colonel Wildman now made further inquiries 
concerning her, and found that she was a great 
favorite with the people of the farm-house where 
she boarded, from the gentleness, quietude, and 
innocence of her manners. When at home, she 
passed the greater part of her time in a small 
sitting-room, reading and writing. 

Colonel Wildman immediately called on her at 
the* farm-house. She received him with some 
.agitation and embarrassment, but his frankness 
and urbanity soon put her at her ease. She was 
past the bloom of youth, a pale, nervous little 
being, and apparency deficient in most of her 
physical organs, for in addition to being deaf and 
dumb, she saw but imperfectly. They carried on 
a communication by means of a small slate, which 
she drew out of her reticule, and on which they 
wrote their questions and replies. In writing 
or reading she always approached her eyes dose 
to the written characters. 

This defective organization was accompanied 
by a morbid sensibility almost amounting to dis- 
ease. She had not been bom deaf and dumb, 
but had lost her hearing in a fit of sickness, and 
with it the power of distinct articulation. Her 
life had evidently been checkered and unhappy ; 
she was apparently without &mily or friend, a 
lonely, desoktte being, cut off from society by her 
infirmities. 

'<I am always amongst strangers," said she, 
*as much so in my native country as I could be 

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422 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

in the remotest parts of the world. By all I am 
considered as a stranger and an alien; no one 
will acknowledge any connection with me. I 
seem not to belong to the hnman species." 

Such were the circumstances that Colonel 
Wildman was able to draw forth in the course 
of his conversation, and thej strongly interested 
him in &yor of this poor enthusiast He was 
too devout an admirer of Lord Byron himself 
not to sympathize in this extraordinary zeal of 
one of his votaries, and he entreated her to* re- 
new her visits to the Abbey, assuring her that the. 
edifice and its grounds should always be open to 
her. 

The Little White Lady now resumed her daily 
walks in the Monks' Garden, and her occasional 
seat at the foot of the monument ; she was shy 
and dif^dent, however, and evidently fearftil of 
intruding. If any persons were walking in the 
garden, she would avoid them, and seek the most 
remote parts ; and was seen like a sprite, only 
by gleams and glimpses, as she glided among the 
groves and thickets. Many of her feelings and 
fancies, during these lonely rambles, were em- 
bodied in verse, noted down on her tablet, and 
transferred to paper in the evening on her return 
to the farm-house. Some of these verses now 
lie before me, written with considerable harmony 
of versification, but chiefiy curious as being illus* 
trative of that singular and enthusiastic idolatry 
with which she almost worshipped the genius of 
Byron, or rather the romantic image of him 
formed by her imagination« 



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NEWBTEAD ABBEY. 42S 

Two or three extracts may not be unaooept- 
able. The following are from a long rhapsody 
addressed to Lord Byron : — 

** B7 what dread charm thou rolest the mind 
It is not given for us to know; 
We glow with feelings undefined, 
Nor can explain from whence they flow. 

" Kot that fond love which passion breathes 
An4 youthful hearts inflame; 
The soul a nobler homage gives, 
And bows to thy great name. 

** Oft have we own*d the muses' slull, 
And proved the power of song. 
But sweetest notes ne'er woke the thrill 
That solely to thy verse belong. 

" This — but fer more, for thee we prove, 
Something that bears a holier name 
Than the pure dream of early love. 
Or friendship's nobler flame. 

" Something divine — Oh ! what it is 
Thy muse alone can tell. 
So sweet, but so profound the bliss 
We dread to break the spell." 

This singular and romantic infatuation, for 
such it might truly be called, was entirely spiritual 
and ideal, for, as she herself declares in another 
of her rhapsodies, she had never beheld Lord 
Byron ; he was, to her, a mere phantom of the 
brain. 

** I ne'er have drunk thy glance, — thy fxtrm, 

My earthly eye has never seen. 
Though oft when &ncy's visions warm. 
It greets mo in some bliasM dreams 



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4S4 CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

Greets me, as greets the sainted seer 

Some radiant visitant from high. 
When heaven's own strains break on his ear, 

And wrap his soul in ecstasy.'* 

Her poetical wanderings and musings were not 
confined to the Abbey grounds^ but extended to 
all parts of the neighborhood connected with the 
memory of Lord Byron, and among the rest to 
the groves and gardens of Annesley Hall, the 
seat of his early passion for Miss Chaworth. One 
of her poetical effusions mentions her having seen 
from Howet's Hill in Annesley Park, a " sylpb- 
like form," in a car drawn by milk-white horses, 
passing by the foot of the hill, who proved to be 
the " favorite child " seen by Lord Byron in his 
memorable interview with Miss Chaworth after 
her marriage. That &vorite child was now a 
blooming girl approaching to womanhood, and 
seems to have understood something of the char- 
acter and stoiy of this singular visitant, and to 
have treated her with gentle sympathy. The 
Little White Lady expresses in touching terms, 
in a note to her verses, her sense of this gentle 
courtesy. " The benevolent condescension," says 
she, ^ of that amiable and interesting young lady, 
to the unfortunate writer of these simple lines, 
will remain engraved upon a grateful memory, 
till the vital spark that now animates a heart that 
too sensibly feels and too seldom experiences such 
kindness, is forever extinct" 

Li the mean time. Colonel Wildman, in coca- 
sional interviews, had obtained further particulars 
of the story of the stranger, and found that pov- 



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NEWSTEAD ABBEY. 42S 

erty was added to the other evils of her forlorn 
and isolated state. Her name was Sophia Hyatt. 
She was the daughter of a country bookseller, but 
both her parents had died several years before. 
At their death, her sole dependence was upon her 
brother, who allowed her a small annuity on her 
share of the property left by their father, and 
which remained in his hands. Her brother, who 
was a captain of a merchant vessel, removed with 
his family to America, leaving her almost alone in 
the world, for she had no other relative in Eng- 
land but a cousin, of whom she knew almost noth- 
ing. She received her annuity regularly for a 
time, but unfortunately her brother died in the 
West Indies, leaving his affairs in confusion, and 
his estate overhung by several commercial claims, 
which threatened to swallow up the whole. Un- 
der these disastrous circumstances, her annuity 
suddenly ceased ; she had in vain tried to obtain 
a renewal of it from the widow, or even an ac- 
count of the state of her brother's affairs. Her 
letters for three years past had remained unan- 
swered, and she would have been exposed to the 
horrors of the most abject want, but for a pit- 
tance quarterly doled out to her by her cousin in 
England. 

Colonel TVildman entered with characteristic 
benevolence into the story of her troubles. E(e 
saw that she was a helpless, unprotected being, 
unable, from her infirmities and her ignorance of 
the world, to prosecute her just claims. He ob- 
tained from her the address of her relations in 
America, and of the commercial connection of 



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426 CBATON MISCELLANY. 

\ 
ber broker ; promised, through the medium of 
his own agents in Liverpool, to institute an in- 
quiry into the situation of her. brother's affairs, 
and to forward any letters she might write, so as 
to insure their reaching their place of destina- 
tion. 

Inspired with some faint hopes, the Little 
White Lady continued her wanderings about the 
Abbey and its neighborhood. The delicacy and 
timidity of her deportment increased the interest 
already felt for her by Mrs. Wildman. That 
lady, with her wonted kindness, sought to make 
acquaintancjB with her, and inspire her with con 
fidence. She invited her into the Abbey ; treated 
her with the most delicate attention, and, seeing 
that she had a great turn for reading, offered her 
the loan of any books in her possession. She 
borrowed a few, particularly the works of Sir 
Walter Scott, but soon returned than ; the writ- 
ings of Lord Byron seemed to form the only 
study in which she delighted, and when not oc- 
cupied in reading those, her time was passed in 
passionate meditations on his genius. Her enthu- 
siasm spread an ideal world around her, in which 
she moved and existed as in a dream, forgetful 
at times of the real miseries which beset her in 
her mortal state. 

One of her rhapsodies is, however, of a very 
melancholy cast; anticipating her own death, 
which her fragile franle and growing infirmities 
rendered but too probable. It is headed by the 
following paragraph : — 

'< Written beneath the tree on Growholt Hill, 



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NEW8TEAD ABBEY. 427 

where it is 1117 wish to be interred (if I should 
die in Newstead)." 

I subjoin a few of ihQ stanzas : they are ad« 
dressed to Lord Byron. 

^ Thon, while thou stand*8t- beneath this tree, 
While by thy foot this earth is |iree6*d, 
Think, here the wanderer*s ashes be — 
And wilt thou say, sweet be thy resti 



** 'T would add even to a seraph's bliss, 
Whose sacred chaiige thou then may be, 
To guide — to guard —yes, Byron ! yea, 
That glory is reserved for me. 

**!£ woes below may plead above 

A frail heart's errors, mine forgiven. 

To that * high world ' I soar, where * love 

Surviving ' forms the bliss of Heaven. 

** O wher^oe'er, in realms above, 
Assigned my spirit's new abode, 
*T will watch thee with a seraph's love, 
"fill thou too soar'st to meet thy God. 

^And here, beneath this lonely tree — 

Beneath the earth thy feet have press'd. 
My dust shall sleep — once dear to thee 
These scenes— here may the wanderer rest I '* 

In the midst of her reveries and rhapsodies, 
tidings reached Newstead of the untimely death 
of Lord Byron. How they were received by this 
humble but passionate devotee I could not ascer- 
tain ; her life was too obscure and lonely to fur- 
nish much personal anecdote, but among her poet* 
jcal effusions are several written in a broken and 



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428 CRATON MISCELLANY. 

irregular manner, and evidently under great agi- 
tation. . 

The foUomng sonnet is the most coherent and 
most descriptive of her peculiar state of mind : ^^ 

** Well, thou art gone — but what wert thou to me ? 

I never saw thee — ncrer heard thy voice, 
Yet my soul seemed to claim affiance with thee. 

The Roman bard has sung of fields Elyvlan, 
Where the soul sojourns ere she visits earth; 

Sure it was there my spirit knew thee, Byron ! 
Thine image hannteth me like a past vision; 

It hath enshrined itself in my hearths core; 
'T is my souPs soul — it fills the whole creation. 

For I do live but in that world ideal 
Which the muse peopleth with her bright fimcies, 

And of that world thou art a monarch real, 
Nor ever earthly sceptre ruled a kingdom. 

With sway so potent as thy lyre, the mind*8 dominion.*' 

Taking all the circumstances here adduced into 
consideration, it is evident that this strong excite- 
ment and 'exclusive occupation of Itie mind upon 
one subject, operating upon a system in a high 
state of morbid irritability, was in danger of pro- 
ducing that species of mental derangement called 
monomania. The poor little being was aware, 
herself of the dangers of her case, and alluded 
to it in the following passage of a letter to Col- 
onel Wildman, which presents one of the most 
lamentable pictures of anticipated evil ever con- 
jured up by the human mind. 

" I have long," writes she, " too sensibly felt 
the decay of my mental faculties, which I oon* 
aider as the certain indication of that dreaded 
calamity which I anticipate with such terror. A 
Btiange idea has long haunted my mind, that 



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NKWaTEAD ABBEY. 429 

Swiil's dreadful £tte will be mine. It is not 
ordinary insanity I so much apprehend, but some- 
thing worse — absolute idiotism ! 

'' O sir ! think what I must suffer from such 
an idea, without an earthly friend to look up to 
for protection in such a wretched state — exposed 
to the indecent insults which such spectacles al- 
ways excite. But I dare not dwell upon the 
thought ; it would facilitate the event I so much 
dread and contemplate with horror. Yet I can- 
not help thinking from people's behavior to me 
at times, and from after-reflections upon my con- 
duct, that symptoms of the disease are already 
apparent." 

Five months passed away, but the letters writ- 
ten by her, and forwarded by Colonel Wildman 
to America, relative to her brother's affairs, re- 
mained unanswered; the inquiries instituted by 
the Colonel had as yet proved equally fruitless. 
A deeper gloom and despondency now seemed to 
gather upon her mind. She began to talk of 
leaving Newstead, and repairing to London, in 
the vague hope of obtaining relief or redress by 
instituting some legal process to ascertain and en 
force the will of her deceased brother. Weeks 
elapsed, however, before she could summon up 
sufficient resolution to tear herself away &om the 
scene of poetical fascination. The following sim- 
ple stanzas, selected from a number written about 
the time, express in humble rhymes the melan- 
choly that preyed upon her spirits : — 

" Farewell to thee, Newstead, thy tune-riven towen 
Shall meet the fond gaze of the pilgrim no more; 



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430 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

No more may she roam through thy walks and thy bowers. 
Nor muse m thy cloisters at eve^s pensive hour. 

^ Oh how shall I leave you, ye hills and ye dales, 

When lost in sad musing, though sad not unblest 
A lone pilgrim I stray — Ah ! in these lonely vales, 
I hoped, vainly hoped, that the pilgrim might rest 

^ Tet rest is far distant — in the dark vale of death 

Alone shall I find it, an outcast forlorn — 
But hence vain complaints, though by fortune bereft 
Of all that could solace in life's early mom. 

*< Is not man from his birth doomed a pilgrim to roam 

O'er the world's dreary wilds, whence by fortune's nid« 
gust. 
In his path, if some flowret of joy chanced to bloom, 
It 18 torn and its foliage Uud low in the dust'* 

At length she fixed upon a day for her depart- 
ure. On the day previous, she paid a &rewell 
visit to the Abbey ; wandering over every part of 
the grounds and garden ; pausing and lingering at 
every place particularly associated with the recol- 
lection of Lord Byron ; and passing a long time 
seated at the foot of the monument, which she 
used to call ''her altar." Seeking Mrs. Wild- 
man, she placed in her hands a sealed packet, 
with an earnest request that she would not open 
it untU after her departure from the neighbor- 
hood. This done, she took an affectionate leave 
of her, and with many bitter tears bade &rewell 
to the Abbey. 

On retiring to her room that evenings Mrs. 
TVildman could not refrain from inspecting the 
legacy of this singular being. On opening the 
packet, she found a number of fugitive poems, 



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NEWaTEAD ABBEY, 431 

written in a most delicate and minute hand, and 
evidently the fruits of her reveries and medita- 
tions during her lonely rambles ; from these the 
foregoing extracts have been made. These were 
accompanied by a voluminous letter, written with 
the pathos and eloquence of genuine feeling, and 
depicting her peculiar situation and singular state 
of mind in dark but painful colors. 

"The last time," says she, "that I had the 
pleasure of seeing you, in the garden, you asked 
me why I leave Newstead; when I told you 
my circumstances obliged me, the expression of 
concern which I fancied I observed in your look 
and manner would have encouraged me to have 
been explicit at the time, but from my inability 
of expressing myself verbally." 

She then goes on to detail precisely her pecu- 
niary circumstances, by which it appears that her 
whole dependence for subsistence was on an al- 
lowance of thirteen pounds a year from her 
cousin, who bestowed it through a feeling of pride, 
lest his relative should come upon the parish. 
During two years this pittance had been aug- 
mented from other sources, to twenty-three pounds, 
but the last year it had shrunk within its original 
bounds, and was yielded so grudgingly, that she 
could not feel sure of its continuance from one 
quarter to another. More than once it had been 
withheld on sh'ght pretences, and she was in con- 
stant dread lest it should be entirely withdrawn. 

" It is with extreme reluctance," observes she, 
** that I have so fer exposed my unfortunate situ- 
ation ; but I thought you expected to know some* 



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482 CRAYON MiaCELLAHY. 

thing more of it, and I feared that Colcmel Wild* 
man, deceived hj appearances, might think that 
I am in no immediate want, and that the delay 
of a few weeks, or months, respecting the inquiry, 
can be of no material consequence. It is abso 
lutely necessary to the success of the business 
that Colonel Wildman should know the exact 
state of my circumstances without reserve, that 
he may be enabled to make a correct representa- 
tion of them to any gentleman whom he intends 
to interest, who, I presume, if they are- not of 
America themselves, have some connections there, 
through whom my Mends may be convinced of 
the reality of my distress, if they pretend to 
doubt it, as I suppose they do : but to be more 
explicit is impossible ; it would be too humiliating 
to particularize the circumstances of the embar- 
rassment in which I am unhappily involved — my 
utter destitution. To disclose all, might, too, be 
liable to an inference which I hope I am not so 
void of delicacy, of natural pride, as to endure 
the thought of. Pardon me, madam, for thus 
giving trouble where I have no right to do — 
compelled to throw myself upon Ck)lonel Wild- 
man's humanity, to entreat his earnest exertions 
in my behalf, for it is now my only resource. 
Tet do not too much despise me for thus submit* 
ting to imperious necessity, — it is not love of 
life, believe me it is not, nor anxiety for its pres- 
ervation. I cannot say, ^ There are things that 
make the world dear to me,' — for in the world 
there is not an object to make me wish to linger 
here another hour, could I find that rest and 



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NEWBTEAD ABBEY, 488 

peace in the grave which I have never found (m 
earth, and I fear will be denied me there." 

Another part of her letter develops more 
. completely the dark despondency hinted at in the 
eondusion of the foregoing extract — and pre- 
sents a lamentable instance of a mind diseased, 
which sought in vain, amidst sorrow and calamity, 
the sweet consolations of religious fiuth* 

"That my existence has hitherto been pro- 
longed," says she, ''often beyond what I have 
thought to have been its destined period, is as- 
tonishing to myself. Often when my situation 
has been as desperate, as hopeless, or more so, if 
possible, than it is at present, some unexpected 
interposition of Providence has rescued me from 
a &te that has appeared inevitable. I do not 
particularly allude to recent circumstances or 
latter years, for from my earlier years I have 
been the child of Providence — then why should 
I distrust its care now ? I do not cftstrust it — 
neither do I trust it I feel perfectly unanxious, 
unconcerned, and indifferent as to the future ; 
but this is not trust in Providence — not that 
trust which alone claims its protection. I know 
this is a blamable indifference — it is more — for 
it reaches to the interminable future. It turns 
almost with disgust from the bright prospects 
which religion offers for the consolation and sup- 
port of the wretched, and to which I was early 
taught, by an almost adored mother, to look 
forward with hope and joy ; but to me they can 
afford no consolation. Not that I doubt the sa- 
cred troths that religion inculcates. . I cannot 



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434 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

doubt — thongh I confess I have sometimes tried 
to do so, because I no longer wish for that im- 
mortality of which it assures us. My only wish 
now is for rest and peace — endless rest. ^ For 
rest — but not to feel 't is rest,' but I cannot de- 
lude myself with the hope that such rest will be 
my lot I feel an internal evidence, stronger 
than any arguments that reason or religion can 
enforce, that I have that within me which is im- 
perishable ; that drew not its origin from the 
^ dod of the valley.' With this conviction, but 
without a hope to brighten the prospect of that 
dread fiiture, — 

' I dare not look beyond the. tomb, 

Tet cannot hope for peace before.' 

^Such an unhappy frame of mind, I am sure, 
madam, must excite your commiseration. It is 
perhaps owing, in part at least, to the solitude in 
which I have lived, I may say, even in the midst 
of society, when I have mixed in it, as my in- 
firmities entirely exclude me from that sweet in- 
tercourse of kindred spirits — that sweet solace 
of refined conversation; the little intercourse I 
have at any time with those around me cannot 
be termed conversation, — Jthey are not kindred 
spirits ; — and even where circumstances have 
associated me (but rarely indeed) with superior 
and cultivated minds, who have not disdained to 
admit me to their society, they could not by all 
their generous efforts, even in early youth, lure 
from my dark soul the thoughts that loved to lie 
buried there, nor inspire me with the courage to 

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NEW8TEAD AB^REY. 485 

attempt their disclosure ; and yet of all the pleas* 
tires of polished life which fancy has often pic- 
tured to me in such vivid colors, there is not one 
that I have so ardently coveted as that sweet 
reciprocation of ideas, the supreme bliss of en- 
lightened minds in the hour of social converse 
But this I knew was not decreed for me, — 

*■ Yet thlfl was in my nature, — 

but since the loss of my hearing, I have alway» 
been incapable of verbal conversation. I need 
not, however, inform you, madam, of this. At 
the first interview with which you favored me, 
you quickly discovered my pecidiar unhappiness 
in this respect : you perceived, from my manner, 
that any attempt to draw me into conversation 
would be in vain: had it been otherwise, per- 
haps you would not have disdained now and then 
to have soothed the lonely wanderer with yours. 
I have sometimes fancied, when I have seen you 
in the walk, that you seemed to wish to encour- 
age me to throw myself in your way. Pardon 
me if my imagination, too apt to beguile me with 
such dear illusions, has deceived me into too pre- 
sumptuous an idea here. You must have ob- 
served that I generally endeavored to avoid both 
you and Colonel "Wildman. It was to spare your 
generous hearts the pain of witnessing distress 
you could not/ alleviate. Thus cut off, as it were, 
fix)m all human society, I have been compelled 
to live in a world of my own, and certainly with 
the beings with which my world is peopled I am 
at no loss to converse. But, though I love soli- 



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48fi CRAYON MiaCELLANT. 

tade and am never in want of subjects to amuse 
my fancy, yet solitude too much indulged in must 
necessarily have an unhappy effect upon the mind, 
which, when left to seek for resources wholly 
within itself, will unavoidably, in hours of gloom 
and despondency, brood over corroding thoughts 
that prey upon the spirits, and sometimes termi- 
nate in confirmed misanthropy — especially with 
those who, from constitution or early misfortunes, 
^re inclined to melancholy, and to view human 
nature in its dark shades. And have I not cause 
for gloomy reflections ? The utter loneliness of 
my lot would alone have rendered existence a 
curse to one whose heart nature has formed glow-> 
ing with all the warmth of social affection, yet 
without an object on which to place it — • without 
one natural connection, one earthly Mend to ap* 
peal to, to shield me from the contempt, indig- 
nities, and insults, to which my deserted situation 
continually exposed me." 

I am giving long extracts from this letter, yet 
I caimot re&ain from subjoining another letter, 
which depicts her feelings with respect to New- 
stead. 

"Permit me, madam, again to request your 
and. Colonel Wildman's acceptance of those ac- 
knowledgments which I cannot too often repeat, 
for your unexampled goodness to a rude stranger. 
I know I ought not to have taken advantage of 
your extreme good-nature so frequently as I have. 
I should have absented myself £rom your garden 
during the stay of the company at the Abbey ; 
bul^ as I knew I must be gone long before they 



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NEW8TEAD ABBET. 437 

would leave it, I could, not deny myself the indul* 
gence, as you so freely gave me your pennission to 
continue my walks ; but now they are at an end. 
I have taken my last farewell of every dear and 
interestLog spot^ which I now never hope to see 
again, unless my disembodied spirit may be per* 
mitted to revisit them. — Yet, oh ! if Providence 
should enable me again to support myself with 
any degree of respectability, and you should 
grant me some little humble shed, with what joy 
shall I return and renew my delightful rambles. 
But dear as Newstead is to me, I will never again 
come under the same unhappy circumstances 
as I have this last time — never without the 
means of at least securing kiyself from contempt. 
How dear, how very dear Newstead is to me, 
how unconquerable the infatuation that possesses 
me, I am now going to give a too. convincing 
proo£ In offering to your acceptance the worth- 
less trifles that will accompany this, I hope you 
will believe that I have no view to your amuse- 
ment. I dare not hope that the consideration 
of their being the products of your own garden, 
and most of them written there, in my little tab- 
let, while sitting at the foot of my Altar — I 
could not, I cannot resist the earnest desire of 
leaving this memorial of the many happy hours 
I have there enjoyed. Oh I do not reject them, 
madam ; suffer them to remain with you ; and if 
you should deign to honor them with a perusal, 
when you read them, repress, if you can, the 
smile that I know will too naturally arise when 
you recollect the appearance of the wretched 



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488 CHAYON MIBCELLANT, 

being who has dared to devote her whole sonl to 
the coutemplation of such more than human ex- 
cellence. Yet ridiculous as such devotion may 
appear to some, I must take leave to saj, that^ 
if the sentiments which I have entertained for 
that exalted being could be duly appreciated, I 
trust they would be found to be of such a na- 
ture as is no dishonor even for him to have 
inspired." .... 

'^ I am now coming to take a last, last view of 
scenes too deeply impressed upon my memory 
ever to be effaced even by madness itself. O 
madam! may you never know, nor be able to 
conceive the agony I endure in tearing myself 
from all that the world contains of dear and sa- 
cred to me : the only spot on earth where I can 
ever hope for peace or comfort. — May every 
blessing the worJd has to bestow attend you, or, 
rather, may you long, long live in the enjoyment 
of the delights of your own paradise, in secret 
seclusion from a world that has no real blessings 
to bestow. Now I go ; — but O might I dare to 
hope that, when you are enjoying these blissful 
scenes, a thought of the unhappy wanderer might 
sometimes cross your mind, how soothing would 
such an idea be, if I dared to indulge it ; — could 
you see my heart at this moment, how needless 
would it be to assure you of the respectful grati- 
tude, the affectionate esteem, this heart must ever 
bear you both.** 

The effect of this letter upon the sensitive 
heart of Mrs. Wildman may be more readily 
conceived than expressed. Her first impulse was 



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NEW8TEAD ABBEY. 439 

to give a home to this poor homeless being, and 
to fix her in the midst of those scenes which 
formed her earthly paradise. She communicated 
her wishes to Colonel Wildman, and they met 
with an immediate response in his generous bosom. 
It was settled on the spot, that an apartment 
should be fitted up for the Little White Lady in 
one of the new farm-houses, and every arrange- 
ment made for her comfortable and permanent 
maintenance on the estate. With a woman's 
prompt benevolence, Mrs. Wildman, before she 
laid her head upon her pillow, wrote the following 
letter to the destitute stranger : — 

" NewBtead Abbey, Tuesday night, Sept. 20th, 1826. 

" On retiring to my bedchamber this evening 1 
have opened your letter, and cannot lose a mo- 
ment in expressing to you the strong interest 
which it has excited both in Colonel Wildman 
and myself, from the details of your peculiar sit- 
uation, and the delicate, and, let me add, elegant 
language in which they are conveyed. I am 
anxious that my note should reach you previous 
to your departure from this neighborhood, and 
should be truly happy if, by any arrangement for 
your accommodation, I could prevent the neces- 
sity of your undertaking the journey. Colonel 
Wildman begs me to assure you that he will use 
his best exertion in the investigation of those 
matters which you have confided to him, and 
should you remain here at present, or return 
again after a short absence, I trust we shall find 
means to become better acquainted, and to con- 

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440 CRAYON MISCELLANY. 

vince jou of the interest I feel, and the real satr 
is£iction it would afford me to coutribute in any 
way to your comfort and happiness. I will only 
now add my thanks for the little packet which I 
received with your letter, and I must confess that 
the letter has so entirely engaged my attention, 
that I have not as yet had time for the attentive 
perusal of its companion. 

'^ Believe me, dear madam, 

" vith sincere good wishes, 
** Yours truly, 

*^ Louisa Wildmak." 

Early the next morning a servant was dis- 
patched with the letter to the Weir Mill farm, 
but returned with l^e information that the Little 
White Lady had set off, before his arrival, in 
company with the farmer's wife, in a cart for 
Nottingham, to take her place in the coach for 
London. Mrs. Wildman ordered him to mount 
horse instantly, follow with all speed, and deliver 
the letter into her hand before the departure of 
the coach. 

The bearer of good tidings spared neither 
whip nor spur, and arrived at Nottingham on a 
gallop. On entering the town, a crowd obstructed 
him in the principal street He checked his 
horse to make his way through it quietly. As 
the crowd opened to the right and le^ he beheld 
a human body lying on the pavement. It was 
the corpse of the Little White Lady ! 

It seems, that, on arriving in town and dis- 
mounting firom the cart, the farmer's wife had 



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NEWSTEAD ABBEY. 441 

parted with her to go on an errand, and the 
Little White Ladj continued on toward the coach- 
office. In crossing a street, a cart came along, 
driven at a rapid rate. The driver called out to 
her, but she was too deaf to hear his voice or the 
rattling of his cart. In an instant she was 
knocked down by the horse, the wheels passed 
over her bodj, and she died without a groan. 



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